A Sea Story

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Everyone said he shouldn’t be doing this. Well, everyone being Tony and Kris. They’re the only ones he told. It’s too dangerous, they said. What if something breaks, they asked. You don’t really know how to use the radio, they pointed out. Ah, but it was the adventure, the challenge, the open air and clear skies which beckoned him. It was the call of nature upon his weighted soul, entreating him to forsake the vagaries of society with all of its artificiality. The natural world spoke to him, and too long he went without the conversation which empowers his being. He listened to the call, because his soul demanded it of him. Not often does one’s own soul command action, but when it does… when it does…

Scott knew that only amongst the stars and clouds, birds and waves could he find whatever it was he lost. He did not mind the solitude, he cherished the time to think. Indeed, he needed the time to think, in a place where others could not interrupt him with all of their own pressing concerns. It was true, he was very good at what he did, which often made people irritated, for good reasons, but that often kept him from the things he wanted to do, and the things he needed to do. With all that happened over the past several weeks, he simply could not go any longer without finding some sort of re-centering. So here he was.

A strong breeze from the northwest blew, puffing out his shirt and messing up his wavy brown hair. He stood, letting the breeze blow in and through him, filling his lungs with its new air. It was still early in the morning, the sun not yet sure it wanted to rise. He laughed when he left the cabin into the cockpit and saw the single sea gull sitting on the top of his mast. This bird, with its demanding call, was the reason he was up right now, but it did not bother him. On certain mornings, beautiful mornings of strong breezes and brilliant sunrises, it is a boon to be woken up before the body would have naturally stirred.

After a moment the bird looked down at him, with the serious and stern eyes seagulls possess, knowing from past experience, apparently, that men on boats often can be careless with food. He stared back at the sea gull, with much less of a purpose. It did not take long for the gull to realize the man was not going to be assisting in the morning quest for an easy meal, so it took to wing, flying southeast with the wind.

The man continued to stare, taking in the sheer beauty of a sailboat in the light of the morning sun. The lines were brilliantly illuminated, the stays casting almost imperceptible shadows on the deck and the sea. Because the weather was calm, there was only a slight sway, his own movement creating more of a stir than the sea. He continued to look about, feeling in the breeze it was going to be a warm day, though not too warm. Knowing he had probably things to do even at this early in the morning, he decided firmly not to do them, letting the peace of the moment seep into his heart and mind, reminding himself of what tranquility really feels like, as opposed to the wan sense he always thought was peace.

There are moments in which we taste eternity, moments in which time itself appears to have stopped, so that we can have a breather. The heavens and the earth, the sea and the air all somehow find a unity, a unity which then fills the mind with great thoughts, with glorious feelings, with an overpowering sense of Truth and Right. This moment was one of those for the man, and he let it continue, warming himself in its ephemeral glow. Aware of its reality, feeling this is what life is supposed to feel like, he was cognizant both of its permanence and its fleeting nature. In this moment he simply was washed, all the dross of his soul cleansed in the flash of the perfection of this present.

He did not know how long he simply leaned and let all of the cosmos fill him, but when he finally did ease out of his reverie, the sun was in fact higher in the sky, and he was now getting warm on his outside as well. It was an odd moment, he knew, because there should have been concerns on his mind which prevented any sort of deep interactions. Tony and Kris were right, things had gone wrong.

The goal had been to sail out to the islands, to anchor on the lee side, and experience the joys of a mind wandering in the midst of seals barking. Then he would sail around them and up the coast where he had rented a slip much closer to home. But, it did not take long for him to realize he really should have checked his boat out thoroughly earlier in the week when he purchased it. Something was wrong with his rudder. He could not steer, and he had no replacement on board with which to fix this rather incapacitating problem. Just out of curiosity, he then tried to check his radio. It was not working either. Apparently, he had some sort of electrical issue. Besides the radio this also meant he could not turn on any of his lights, leaving him in the dark all the previous night, to himself and to others.

His sails appeared in order, so part of him wondered if he was skilled enough to try and steer with sails only. Fortunately, he was intelligent enough to realize both his capabilities and his foolishness. The daring in him which spurred him to try was just barely negated by his own awareness that his lack of fear of the sea was not a quality to value. So, he continued to stand, making sure the sails were properly folded, the lines properly tied. And he began to wonder what he would have for breakfast. Vaguely, only vaguely, did he also begin to wonder how he was going to fix his rather serious problems.

The boat still floated, so while impossible to steer, at least it still retained the essential qualities. He had food and water, and really didn’t mind just spending time on the boat. It hadn’t been his for very long, so his affection for it outweighed any frustration these new issues might have otherwise stirred up.

It would be best, he thought, to have a look at the radio. He realized he really should have learned more about using it, as well as making sure he had all the required emergency devices aboard. The only cause of the problem was his own lack of preparedness, he knew, but oddly didn’t mind. There is something about a moment touching eternity that brings a sense of peace and perspective to even the most daunting of problems. It was only casually, then, that he began poking around, trying to see if there was an easy fix.

He walked down into the cabin and opened up the panel underneath the bench where the battery was located. A noise outside caused him to pause.

“What was that?”

Listening some more he could swear it was a voice calling out to him. He put down his screwdriver and peaked out the cabin door.

A loud voice, a woman’s voice, was yelling, “Scott! Scott!”

He yelled back, “What?!”

“I thought you were leaving yesterday afternoon.”

He looked down over the cockpit onto the dock where a tanned middle-aged woman in a light red summer dress was walking briskly towards him.

“Yeah, I was. But as I was leaving I realized the rudder was broke. And you were right about the radio.”

She smiled, “It’s not too bad just to stay here, I guess.”

“No,” he answered. “No, it’s not. It’s beautiful. And much less trouble.”

He smiled back, and began again to look at what he could do with the radio.

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