Out on the Open Sea
Last week my friend Richard brought my daughter and I out into the harbor for an afternoon on his brother’s boat. Despite dire weather predictions, the day planned for our sail was perfect. We were thus inspired to stay out longer than we had originally planned, tacking back and forth, sailing close to the wind. The sun, wind, clouds and water gave us a magical day.
One thing I learned about myself is that I am due for a serious refresher course in the basics of sailing. Since my two main totem elements are earth and water, I’m okay navigating through them easily. When you add the wind, I’m not so sure I can play well with its unpredictability. I’m okay when the wind is behind me, but if I am faced with the prospect of sailing a boat close to the wind across the bow, my sense of balance flees from me. My sense of adventure is checked by my desire to make sure the boat stays in one piece. I am told that’s a good thing.
The Boldness of Youth
My daughter had been looking forward to our sailing trip for a month and was eager to help out with whatever tasks Richard was willing to hand over to her. She helped hoist the sail, tied knots, and took her turn at the helm for a while when the wind was calm. She even climbed up onto the prow when it was time to tie the boat to the dock post at sunset.
While Richard steered, my daughter was happy to splash in the salt water, sing songs from Les Miseràbles, take pictures, and watch out for pirate ships. One racing boat we saw sported a black hull and matching black sails. She called it “The Black Pearl.” Guess which movies we’ve been watching together this summer?
The Stillness of Nature
One of the phenomena that I noticed during our time on the water was the effect of nature on the three of us. Though we engaged each other with lively chatter in the car on the way to the marina and back home, against the backdrop of an broad mix of music, on the boat we settled into long periods of companionable silence. Our senses became attuned to the sights, sounds and touch of nature. We noticed flying cormorants, listened to the lapping of the waves against the hull, and were delighted by the spray of water and play of wind in our hair. The atmosphere was so enchanting that our attention was fully engaged with how the elements moved in harmony with one another, and how the creatures of that world moved from place to place.
A Fond Farewell
Our first boating adventure of the summer was also our last, since it happened so late in the season. My daughter’s school year has begun and it is time for me to return to my writing and gardening.
Perhaps I will find a place to take a sailing class or two before our next adventure together. In the meantime, I am grateful for the magical afternoon spent with both enchanting nature and charming human company.