Sailing in my Mind

My memory from a time in the past.

At first, it was the sound. Creaks and cracks and moaning groans of teak wood joints in the planking of the deck as the internal timbers torqued from the blowing stress of the wind in the sails. Wood on wood, a sound all sailors know.

Straining lines answered back to the groans with a sound of a wet knot pulled tight.

I knew we were underway, but now it was confirmed by the splashing spray and snapping sails. Soon would come commands from the Captain to trim the mizzen sheet before he shouts, “ready to come about.”

The Schooner Appledore, an 86 foot wooden Windjammer, glided or’ and through the wave swells and white caps in the confluence of the Gulf and Atlantic waters. The spray was salty, but warm since the air was cold. The sun lowered closer to its green splash of light in the distant sea; its celestial candle dimmed for the coming dusk then darkened for hours till dawn.

I am not a sailor, but I love to sail. My poet’s mind translates the wind to grace as I let it carry me to the lost horizons of time and the wonderment of what was and what’s there.

The salted spray with its mist and aroma ignited my spirit in a liquid flame of awe, and I felt my other lives in places on and near the sea.

The mighty clapping flaps of canvas sails slapped me back to the NOW and to the gusty folds of waning winds that heeled the boat to an awkward tilt. I stand with my back braced to the main mast and knees bent ready for instantaneous adjustments in balance. Shanty words come from somewhere in my mind.

“Hi-Lo High, sailors cry when God’s on the water.”

The sea has always been measured by the sadness of time and tide and in the tears of separation. The family here, future there. The vast waves of hopes and wishes in between. Adventure? Yes! Fearful too, especially for those who love the result, but know not the process, the danger.

I am far more appreciative now of the early explorers who mastered the seas and set humankind on the path of expansion. I  am far more contemplative now for age is my sea and time is my tide.

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