Sunday, November 29, 2009

a light on the horizon

Breathless, weightless, floating, peaceful, safe, rested, relaxed, content, quiet, awareness of being, one.

A shocking sudden crash through the surface to an aggressive awakening of bright morning light of day. The raw smell of salt, the roar of waves and wind, the taste of the sea. Eyes blinded by sunlight, a gasp for air and the struggle to stay afloat.

Yards away a skiff, deserted, drifting on the tide. A frantic struggling swim for the rail the dry embrace of her hull; the illusion of safety.
"Take bearings and stock", his instincts rose. "The way of the wind, the run of the tides."

The sun rose in the Eastern sky bringing its welcome warmth. A gentle swell on the ocean's face and the comforting calls from laughing gulls riding on the air. "Land nearby but where away?"

The sky to the west still dark, the uplifting swell extended his view and there away, a light on the horizon. It sank from sight as the sea exhaled but he knew. The next rise of the swell would name the light his "Home" and he would make for it.

She was miles off, he reckoned, within line of sight for sparse seconds at a time and fading fast in the spreading daylight. Spirit renewed, he spread the main and charted his course.

In the rush of the morning, no time to think, "Just do."
In the warm afternoon, the hunger, "Just eat."
Ever west, the skiff made way in fair winds.

The sun at its height, stole his wind. Equatorial calms turned the tide and the skiff drifted in the doldrums, "Just row."
A long breathless afternoon, the sun at full fire, "Just row."
Mindless melancholy so far from his home, "Just row."
But for the splash of the oars, hour after endless hours, the deafening silence of the sea, "Turn the glass, just row."

The sun well into the west, the sea began to stir. A cool gust captured in the sail and she made way. From the south, off to starboard, a squall.

The wind and sea rose; the sky darkened, again he took his bearings, again the swell revealed her. Clearly now in the gathering dark; his light, his desire, his "Home".
Nearer to him than before but not near enough for shelter from this. . .
"There's nothing for it, ride her out!
Batten down, shorten sail. . ."

The rain came on in torrents.
"With all your heart, all your power and all your love, take to the tiller, slacken the sheet, sail!"

A merciless war of wind and water, rigging straining against the gale; he held fast. Tossed in the swell, provisions washed to sea, she was taking on water; alternations of bailing and sailing, clarity and confusion, fear and excitement;
Still, he held fast.

Then a whisper. Softly spoken as if through all eternity,
"O God, your sea is so great and my boat is so small."

In prayer, he had realized, become aware; the trials and light that lead him, had lit the light in his heart.
Then, as fast as it had come over him, the storm was past.

The moonless dark made her clearly now. Fair winds prevailed and clouds cleared. He looked to the stars and knew their names; Orion, Polestar, Southern Cross. They too had been his own.

On the horizon, "Home". Westward she sailed, the light of new life drawing ever closer to his eye. Yet the more way the skiff made, the deeper she drank. The day had come at a cost, he knew. All delusion purged, only his faith remained.

He tied off the sheet to hold his heading; still nearer she drew. He lay back in the stern, a tired hand on the tiller, his gaze fixed ahead. He felt the warmth of the water, then sank quietly into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Breathless, weightless, floating, peaceful, safe, rested, relaxed, content, quiet, awareness of being, one.

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