March 5 marked my two year anniversary as a sailmaker's apprentice. For the first time in my adult life, I have spent more than two years in one place, with one 40-hour-per-week job, in a home without wheels, sails or roommates, and without taking extended leaves of absence. Two years ago today, everything I owned fit into my sea bag and my guitar case. I slept on a bare mattress and subsisted on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The love of my life, a tall ship sailor on the East Coast, said he would find a way to come out and be with me but, at that time we didn't know how.
Today, I live in a house—one that I share only with my love—and that's another first. We even have a yard and a garage. I have furniture, Internet, insurance. As much as I still worry about money, looking around, I see I am a wealthy, and lucky, woman. Everything I wanted when I arrived here, I have.
So now, basic needs met, I face the challenges of what comes after. At the sail loft, I feel I have fought my way through the rapids and reached the even currents that come with working more confidently and independently. I am far from a master, but I feel deeply satisfied when I see a sail take form in my hands over the course of a few days rather than a few weeks. As hard-won as those skills seem however, the ones that remain both in sailmaking and in life, will be harder still to collect. I peer out the window by my kitchen table as the March light illuminates a cascade of jasmine blossoms pouring over the neighbor's old wooden fence and I feel grateful for the opportunity to try.