Friday, December 2, 2011

HELM REFLECTIONS

Daytona, FL 29º11.486N | 81º00.063W


Well, it's time to get this show back on the water. After two weeks in St. Augustine, we untied at first light and turned south toward Daytona. It felt so good to be moving again. I was standing watch at the helm ... thinking  so feel free to stop reading here.

we should not complain about impermanence,
because without impermanence, nothing is possible.  -- thich nhat hanh

Sometimes at the helm I think about how water gets sucked up into the clouds and comes falling down again as rain. Sometimes I think about candy canes or squirrels, but today I was thinking about the march of life and the certain irony of the tug-of-war between physical decline and internal growth. You know, how as time passes, our bodies slowly deteriorate while at the same time our brains and souls are on an opposite trajectory toward enlightenment -- at least that's the idea.

And if the one constant in our lives is time passing, why, as if there's an alternative, do we lament that very passing and even the growth that comes along with it? We protest the sweet baby growing into a toddler into a pre-schooler, sigh at last year's picture of a puppy now full grown. We rankle at the emotional growth that would give us the happiness we think we want.

Somewhere down there, our reptilian brain must be saying, "we are safe, fed and free of pain. We're surviving, don't change a thing!"

It must be our other more progressive brain that, if indulged, seeks and is gratified by change. It's not the ordinary moments that stick with us, it is the times when we've stepped out of the stasis of our lives and experienced something new, the birth of a child, a farflung vacation, an epiphany that sends us down a whole new path.

But what happens if your daily life is ever new, if you have so embraced change that it becomes your only constant? My "normal" is movement, new scenes, new places. I now live at the whim of currents, tides, wind, storm systems, seasons, all moveable targets, and though some have patterns, many are just plain unpredictable.

All the external markings of stability have been removed and even the floor beneath my feet moves. In this ever-changing environment, just as my surroundings do not remain stationary, neither does my self.

What I realize is that this fluid environment reveals the things in me that are static -- some good and some bad.

Busy life used to mask my foibles, but here with only sky and water and a changing landscape, those flaws rise up and demand attention, changes of their own, because, well, everything must change -- get with the program!

And those are the things I think of while standing at the helm watching water and Florida pass me by. I think of all the other things that are slipping past in my wake, youth and years, tears and triumphs.

But why am I out here? To seek the water ahead and learn its lessons, to nourish and feed that little sprout of understanding growing somewhere deep within and pluck the weeds that hold it back.

And press on toward the light ... at 5 miles per hour.

6 comments:

  1. I love it when you get all philosophical and let us inside your head. Great post!

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  2. Thanks for reading past the first sentence! LOL

    s/v Fugue .... do you have a blog?

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  3. Beverly (s/v Fugue)December 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    No blog of my own - just enjoy reading sailing blogs, especially yours. You help keep my hopes up - house hasn't sold, so we can't take off cruising yet.

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  4. It will happen!!! God knows, we put in a long time ploddingTOparadise before we got to plod IN paradise.

    Good things really do come to those who wait. And, as I always say, only bad things happen by accident. The good ones take a lot of planning and hard work!

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  5. Love your post, Tammy. I wonder about the aging part, and how many years march past me as I still dream childhood dreams. The balance seems slightly out of kilter in that respect, some days.

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  6. I can smell the scotch from here.

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