Thursday, February 24, 2005

Go Sail Away

Go Sail Away

Today, I had lunch with some X-Tivoli folks, whom I hadn't seen in a while, at Z-Tejas. It's quite the loud place, although the food is pretty good. I had some smothered burrito thing that was very big (too much for me to eat actually) but rather tasty.

One of the ladies, Kathy (not the same Kathy as my photographer friend Kathy although, in a subtle but oh so effective plot to confuse us all, they know each other and are friends) is about to resign her position at IBM and go sailing. She's not just going sailing, she's going from Hawaii to various points along the west coast of the Americas, for like 28 days. (Now that's what I call SAILING. Most people, if they are lucky, get to row a dingy once in a while.)

I have been sailing a bit before (although nothing quite like what she's doing.) The world on the ocean is very different from points ashore. For one thing, the things you consider to be of relative importance become almost meaningless at sea. Got money? That's great, the nearest bank is like 3 continents away. Maybe, if you survive the sharks, whales, beating sun, pouring down rain, and storms, you'll make it back to dry land long enough to spend some of it. Like to watch TV? Ha! Don't go sailing. Even TiVo couldn't help your sorry butt out on the ocean. Cell phone ringing? Not at sea it won't. Even your contact list can't help you now. Cities could rise up and fall away while you literally spend weeks (months!) with nothing but blue sky and ocean on your horizon (whichever way you look.) What's over the horizon isn't even a distant memory anymore. It's so unimportant, it's not even a blip on your radar.

When you're at sea, the only things that matter are wind, waves, clouds, water, sun, moon, stars, rations, radios, and sails. Everything else is born of another world and probably best left there. Needless to say, it reminds you of what's really important in life. It's very much like getting back to basics. An ocean sailing vessel is it's very own self-contained universe (much like my little world!) and it doesn't play well in mixed company.

On dry land, we tend to think of stars as "pretty" but useless. At sea, they're important (and, sometimes, invisible.) On dry land, we pay little mind to the direction of the wind, the time of day the sun rises or sets, and the formations of the clouds in the sky (other than, an occasional glance to verify that there's still, in fact, a recognizable "bunny" up there.) Most folks rarely, if ever in their lifetimes, get to enjoy the glisten of the moon on the ocean late at night. Some nights, it's so bright out there, you could read by it.

They say the planet earth is covered by 75% water and 25% land, yet we seldom, if ever, see how the other half lives. From what little I've seen, I can vouch for the fact that, it's a whole different universe out there just waiting to be explored.

Until next time...

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