When it comes to romance, some things are very clear:
Moon glow is better than sunshine
Smell of campfire beats smell of disinfectant
Cashmere sweaters edge out polyester anything
Walking through woods tops walking through Walmart
Romantic comedies trump documentaries
Paris beats Frankfurt
San Francisco whoops Des Moines
Candlelight trumps incandescent
Willy Nelson, yes. John Phillip Sousa, no.
And sail boats hammer cruise ships
There’s something compelling about the sounds and the absence of sounds when you’re sailing: No engine sound. No engine sound at all; only the creak of the boom, the swoosh of the bow in the water and the call of the gulls. No ear-gouging horns; just the rustle of rigging and stretching of ropes. No clunks with the shifting of gears; simply the gentle thwap of the waves, the wind across the deck and the sound of the cooler being opened. Again. And again.
Our species has spent far more time in sailing vessels than in motor craft. Many more hours mending sails than repairing engines. Much more time mounting masts than fueling tanks. The earliest representations of sailing that we know about are on Egyptian pictographs dating from 5500 years ago. But chances are, we biped bozos have been trying on sea legs from the moment we waddled and waded in puddle, pond, river or sea.
When you’re sailing, you’re riding on the liquid essence of life. Dancing on the surface of the juicy juju from which we all emerged. Skittering across that H2O – be it stirring or stagnant, salty or sweet, potable or putrid – which makes life possible.
And not only are you scooting across one gift of life, you’re being carried forward by the wind – by that which not only wafts your sweet butt from here to there, but graciously offers you your next breath, your next heartbeat, the next moment, another chance.
You can meditate at the Taj Mahal, pray at Machu Picchu, roll your rosaries at the Vatican, yabber in your yarmulke in Jerusalem, shave your head in Nepal or squeeze a snake in the mountains of North Carolina; but you’ll be hard pressed to find a more satisfyingly sacred act than sailing. Hard to connect with anything more holy, life-giving and undeniably indispensable than a time at sea with a sail.
Picture your self as a sailboat: Made to be lifted by the water and carried by the wind. Made to scurry from port to port. Made to ride the waves and bask in the sun. Made for pleasure and purpose and purposeful pleasure.
Picture your self as a sailboat: Not made to be tied up or grounded. Not made to be toted around behind some land yacht. Not made to be sitting in a warehouse or garage waiting until retirement or until you have the time.
Picture your life and the changes you go through as sailing, using the rudder to try and get where you want to be; but knowing you’re always and forever at the mercy of the wind and the water.
Suggestion: Keep sailing; and chances are that through the storms, the calms, the exultation and the exhaustion, you’ll get maybe not where you thought you were going, but where you need to be.