Last spring Mr. Warren Witherell sent me a graduation present. It came in a normal padded envelope addressed to my Truckee address. Inside it was not wrapped, just a brand new book -- with a nice note inside, which read:
Hi Bud --
What a great success you have made of your college career. I smile ever time I read your blog -- and see how much you are growing growing every day.
My crystal ball says you will have a great adult life, and will do many thins that enrich other people's lives.
If you share your curiosity and love for life with those around you, you will always have friends -- and great respect too. Both are important.
Have a great graduation day.
That letter is still inside the book he sent me. It will stay in that book forever. The book he sent me sat on my book-shelf since I got it in the mail. I added it to my list of "need to reads" -- which you may know is very extensive. :) (PS -- books, and Barnes & Noble cards are still by far the best gift). He told me over an e-mail that it would be a good book to read one chapter randomly at a time. Read it out loud, read it to yourself, read it to your friends, enjoy the book. Well, seldom do I not enjoy a book.
One morning I woke up and knew it was time to start reading a book. The only one left to read was "First you have to row a little boat" by Richard Bode, gifted by Warren. I grabbed it and threw it in my purse on my way to work with a zillion other odds and ends I find necessary throughout my long days.
Finally I found some slow time and opened up the book, little did I know I would become hooked after the first chapter (thanks to Brad and Eric Ross all the books that I continue to read are marked thoroughly with pen underlines, stars, little notes to self and exclamation points).
Bode has written a capturing piece which he relates his sailing experiences to his life experiences -- how he has grown from learning how to sail -- the love and dedication one has to put into something, the lessons that can be learned by a passionate relationship, the feeling of separation and loss. Bode puts his words together in a magical way. Here are some small things that had BOLD underlining (so obviously that meant I really liked it), or a lot of stars:
"To sail a boat is to negotiate life --- that is what I want them to understand" (2)
"I had taken a dream, clung to it, nurtured it, never let it go. That dream governed my youthful actions and ultimately transformed my life" (23)
** "But there is an inherent problem in this approach, for what they seize is never enough, and so they always end up seizing more, until they discover to their astonishment that everything they thought they owned had sifted through their fingers like sand" (25)
"But don't lose sight on your destination, either, for the quest of your life is to discover who you are" (48)
** "I realized that the ability to distinguish between real and apparent dangers is fundamental to good judgment, and people who don't possess it are seriously handicapped. They dwell in a state of incipient catastrophe, thinking only of what can go wrong and trying to ward it off before it occurs. They aren't masters of reality, although they like to think they are; they're master of unreality because they let their fears, which are figments of an untrustworthy imagination, govern their lives. It's as if they never break through a secret barrier that separates the timorous from the self-assured" (91)
"But detection isn't deduction; it's something else: the ability to examine the evidence the world presents with an unfettered mind" (103)
"Life is an apprenticeship" (181)
Okay, so I won't spoil the entire story for you. Who wants to borrow it now? I think it would be a fantastic read for all of my friends and family. It is delightful how Bode's words flow across the page and are easy to relate with. Like Warren told me, read it slowly -- enjoy it here and there. I suggest you do just that, but, if you are like me once you pick it up you won't put it down.
I remember when I was VERY that my parents had a sailboat. I remember going out on it a few times. I remember it was white, blue and red. I believe it was sold to the Crawford's? Who knows, but this book brought back little parts of my childhood that I had forgotten about.
Warren, thank you for sending me this book. I am going to treasure it for ever. I must admit, this was WAY better than any Dr. Seuss, "Oh the places you will go" (all though I do love Dr. Seuss) -- this was an original present and something I will remember for years to come. I am glad that I finally took the time to read it.
Go see if you can get your hands on a copy!
Sending love from Southern California (home made pizza time!)