My American Landscape XLVII


Floating Somewhere Between Here and There

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be so small that no person knows of your existence? Has that same wonder placed you back in the womb of your mother? Imagine the sounds, the sights, the gentle jouncy of rhythmic movements. The gentle rising and fall of the cycles of a day. Wandering in that space of light, dark, warmth, caresses all moments beautiful, until it is not.

This past weekend was like that.

Since my twelfth year of my birth, when I experienced sailing for the first time off the coast of Stock Island, Florida, with my then friend Tony Turner. On a fourteen-foot Sunfish sailboat. A little boat with one sail, just the main sheet to control the shape of the sail. A lovely experience of riding the water, not racing the water, but actually moving with every ripple, air, air over water, gliding as if my wings were opened for the first time on the up swelling of the warm wind high above the earth.

Back to this past weekend. Sail racers, Sally, Barry and the skipper owner of Mental Floss, Bruce, adventured for two days. We wandered the outside of the San Juan Archipelago. From Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham Bay, across Rosario Straight to Blakely Island, Blakely Island Harbor. Gentle breezes, water blanketed by the haze of pollutants of the metropolis just north of the Islands. The smoke of the summer wildfires past, but the lingering of auto pollutants held close to the earth by a lovely high pressure system. As bad as all that sounds, it does provide for some lovely colors and opportunity for ‘soft focus’ photography.

On our return we were graced with what is the most wondrous of sailing experiences.


Fog thick enough to limit visibility to the length of a football field. Go back to the opening paragraph. Yes! It is not dark however. But you are suspended somewhere on earth between surface and sky. Light is bent in ways only produced in our dreams. Direction is easily lost. Choices are second guessed. No person knows you exist.

Well none of that is true except in my wandering mind. Technology and the knowledge of navigational ‘dead reckoning’ places us on the map. Keeps us from harms way and brings us close enough to land masses that allow even better navigational ‘targets’.

But when the sun and breeze finally open the sky, it is likely an easier rebirth than the original entry in our world. The fog stacks up against the distant islands and finally makes it to the mainland where it is dispersed.

There are other analogies that could be drawn, like when we were just a half mile from the entrance to the harbor and a squall line including winds of over thirty-eight knots were blowing the tops off the waves generated by the same wind. Returning to the world of issues, pain, disappointments, love, warmth, understanding and community.

We humans are complicated.


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