Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On the Water

I love being on the water in a small boat.

There is something exhilarating about being on the waves looking back at the shore and the people and houses on the shore.

It is fun to look at the expensive houses arrayed along the water ways with their pools within steps of the water and significant boat houses to hold their expensive water craft.  I sometimes feel like a voyeur looking into their lives from the water.

But beyond the bounds of the water ways and onto the open ocean--that is the real thrill. Crossing the boundary from coastal water into ocean where the waves are real and the bottom drops out of sight fascinates me still, even though I have dove down and explored wrecks along the bottom, from above there is no trace of the complex bottom and sea life below.

Much has been written and movies have been made about life on the water and heading out onto the sea in small ships or boats and I am sure I cannot add anything significant to the body of work, except to note, I get it.

I love the clean smell of salt air and the coolness of the waves as they break over the bow and splash me. I am not a fan of being bruised by the boat as it slaps my backside repeatedly, but that kind of goes with the experience.

I am reminded of the John Masefield poem titled Sea Fever:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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