Reflecting on Boat Life

The view from the back of the boat.

The view from the back of the boat.

By Kate Dugan
Two months ago, my husband and I moved aboard a boat and moved ourselves to rural Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

My spiritual life is forever changed.

Not only did we downsize from a 1,700 square foot apartment, we moved from downtown Olympia to an island without a formal town on it. My carbon footprint went from massive to slightly-less-than-massive.

But much more than that, I find that I can breath easier out here. The pace of my footsteps has slowed and my appreciation for the many hues of green has deepened. I watch herons and jellyfish and deer from my spot on the back of the deck.

For years, I have thought about the ways running has slowly and easily become my Mass, my spiritual ritual, as my ability to endure formal Mass has waned. Now, I run each morning with the regularity the 80- and 90- year olds at my home parish gave to daily Mass at 7am. I continue to run from docked home on the boat.

But I also find myself in awe of this place. I am surrounded by more natural beauty than I have ever known in my life. I take deep breaths of greens and water and moss and fir and madrona. I have never felt so connected to the land. It is both surreal and wonderful. And deeply spiritual.

Kate Dugan is a co-editor of From the Pews in the Back and is happily enjoying sunny days in the Pacific Northwest.

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