Sunday, October 26, 2008


I'm not so sure about being a sailor but I am certainly not a complete beginner any longer. As our first season of owning and sailing our little boat comes to a close it is kind of amazing just how much we have learned. Still, we have never been out in weather or low visibility, (Low vis on our lake full of obstructions would get some attention!) and honestly, waves in a lake that is about 20 feet deep at max can't really get very big. No chance of burying the bow or getting "green water" up on the deck.

It is fun to not stumble around the rigging trying to figure out what does what. And it was just a few months ago that the sight of Nomad heading to the pump out dock with me at the helm would have boys climbing trees to get a good view, dogs howling and mothers covering the little ones eyes so they wouldn't see the carnage. (Okay, it wasn't quite that bad but it wasn't pretty either.) I don't have to ask how to reef a sail or tighten a forestay whereas not that long ago I didn't know what a "forestay" was.

Flying and motorcycle riding have taught me another thing; just about the time I think I know something a pretty big piece of "humble pie" is about to be served up. Pilots can be a pretty arrogant bunch but only around other people. No pilot is ever arrogant when it comes to the sky. That would be a guaranteed way to get one's ass busted big time. I have noticed a bit of the same with sailors. They do a thing not everybody does and some of them do it a lot better than others of them. But all of them (all of us?) know full well that compared to even a little body of water like Carlyle lake (let alone an ocean) we don't actually amount to much. It takes absolutely no notice of us at all. I read a bit somewhere once upon a time, "The earth will spin and the sun will rise in the morning, birds will sing and fish will swim, and all of this will happen in spite of the wishes of every tyrant and every king that has ever ruled over men."

We are all getting pretty full of the idea that we are about to elect the leader of the free world and set the course of history. Maybe we should all take a deep breath, step back a moment, take a look at the sea or the sky, and remember just who we really are. From 40,000 feet all the feats of mankind actually look pretty small, dwarfed by even the ancient mountains of the east and the scale of the Gulf of Mexico. From just a few miles off shore, certainly no more than 10, land fades from view and we discover that most of the planet is a place we can only visit. This election may be important to us, but it might serve us all to remember that we are not that important. Maybe, if we remembered that, we would treat each other with a bit more kindness, be a little more gentle with our rhetoric, be a little less sure and full of ourselves.

That would be a good thing.


Grandma Kim said...

The picture Debbie has of you on the boat makes you look like a sailor. So, I guess it's official, Sailor Tim.

T gramps said...

It was a good pic...the more I cover up the better I look!