a wandering woman writes

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sailing, waiting, watching

As humans we live in the constant presumption of dominion. We believe that we own the world, that it belongs to us, that we have it under our firm control. But the sailor knows all too well the fallacy of this view. The sailor sits by his tiller waiting and watching. He knows he isn't sovereign of earth and sky any more than the fish in the sea or birds in the air. He responds to the subtle shiftings of the wind, the imperceptible ebbings of the tide. He changes course. He trims his sheets.

He sails.

Richard Bode, from First You Have to Row a Little Boat.

I cancelled a long booked ocean crossing (my first) to wander Ireland with my brother - a week or 10 or 12 days from the Azores to Faro. Maybe the Spanish have gotten to me; a week with a brother I seldom see, about to launch his own far-flung adventure halfway around the world from me, tempted me more than the act of marking "ocean passage" off my to-do list. And then there was the timing - the residency papeleo , the costs and the time away from my fledgling new projects. The tides had turned, it seemed...

Some days it doesn't feel easy, this living as a landlocked sailor. I miss the physicality of sailing, the full speed ahead quiet, the places I go when I'm on the water. As a writer I miss the illimitable metaphor of sailing, the adventure of every sail, the little something I inevitably bring home, learned.

So I was delighted to run across this favorite bit of Bode today, tucked in a old notebook...



  • It would be a fantastic thing that we realise "he (the human being) isn't sovereign of earth ". We are not the centre of Universe. We live in a small planet and we are driving it to disaster.
    Well, it´s not much related to your post but I couldn´t avoid to think so, you know, I am in the second year of Enviromental Science

    By Blogger Nomadita, at 1:18 PM  

  • I loved the Bode quote ... some of the mountaineers I interviewed spoke of similar things and had that awareness that man suffers from the delusion he controls things.

    By Blogger woman wandering, at 1:41 PM  

  • You made me order this book. By the way, beautiful photo!

    By Blogger Rambukk, at 8:59 PM  

  • Excellent quotation. Thank you.

    By Blogger Tillerman, at 11:00 PM  

  • Yes Nomadita, yes, say that again will you, even louder??? And I think it's very related to the post.....the same illusion of control.

    Thanks Rambukk. It's a book I go back and reread every now and then. A quick read, but a lovely, well written story of all that one man learned in a life of sailing, I use sailing constantly, myself, as a metaphor for everything, lol, but not nearly a well as Bode.

    Thanks Tillerman! Fun to see you here!

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:51 AM  

  • I have a simple wish for you... that you should be sailing soon enough again. :D

    By Anonymous Adrift At Sea, at 3:39 AM  

  • Yes, Dan, yes, that's the ticket.
    It's San Juan's night here tonight. Pretty sure I get to toss a few well selected (salty) wishes into the bonfire, if I am willing to dance over it....

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 12:00 PM  

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