“There aren’t too many small boat voyagers left, and we are they. Those of us with experience sailing, paddling, and rowing light expeditionary craft on adventuresome treks have a bit of a duty to set good, seamanlike examples to those who are paying attention to what we do, both to further the passion, and ensure that those who follow our path do so in safety. For they, in turn, will be the ones to further the passion in years to come.” – SailBirdMike (me) of WaterTribe
I sail. I began learning when I was three years old, and I’m still learning today. And now, I’m teaching my wife and stepson, or at least I HOPE I’m teaching them, some of what I know. And the realization hit me (not literally, but that can happen on a boat if you aren’t careful) that what I most wanted and needed to explain to them was not the art of steering, the science of sail trim, or the grit of driving a small boat to windward in a breeze- rather, it was the cumulative Zen of the whole thing that finally emerged as the most important part.
I get into a mental zone when rigging a boat… feeling the environment welcomingly play back with each little bit of rigging I set. Feeling the wind hint at what she has to offer when we cast aside the ties to shore and head out into the seas that we breathe in while preparing to go. Feeling the warm rays of the sun tease me into baring my skin to the heat. Smelling the sea and knowing I’ll soon be tasting the very essence of life as the water plays with me like a small toy, spraying my burning skin with it’s salty balm.
What I have to do now, after attempting to explain the state of mind that awaits, is let them guide themselves into that state of mind, that unique individual place that we each can only know ourselves, yet understanding when another mentions it… allow them to do what I do, in the hope that they feel what I am so fortunate to feel. There will be magic there for all of us… for them, the discovery, and for me, seeing the discovery occur. For sailing covers everything: life, love, loss, lust, and hope. It is the magical stuff of life itself, ebbing and flowing with the currents of sun, water, hearts, moon, and sand.
For that, my friends… is Poetry In Motion.
More about my sailing
addiction affliction avocation can be found on my adventure sailing blog: