i happened upon this photo today, and it pulled me in. i wanted to write a story about this man, wanted to give life to his cracked and calloused hands.
sometimes a photo or phrase speaks to me, and i don’t know quite why. but i didn’t have to dig deep to understand the longing i felt while staring at the fraying rope and billowing sail. i realized i didn’t have to write his story. to some extent the story is my own…
growing up, i spent a lot of time on boats. we spent summers and school vacations aboard my father’s yachts and sailboats, my favorites being a fleming and an island packet 44′ named the passage II, which we once sailed all the way to the bahamas.
being from nebraska, there was nowhere nearby to keep a large vessel, and we kept a slip in baltimore. the nautical life is a different sort, and when we’d escape to the open seas it was a whole new world.
some of my favorite memories: looking down into the water to see it teeming with thousand and thousands of jellyfish, so many you couldn’t even begin to count or see where one ended and the next began. standing at the bow of the boat as it dipped and soared upon the waves and a school of dolphins jumped and swam in unison alongside us. the sense of camaraderie among fellow sea-faring families, and hopping from boat to boat and dock to dock meeting new and interesting people, who were welcoming with tales of their travels and stories behind the names of their floating homes.
my heart is warm remembering these details. sometimes at night i try to recall what it feels like, the ocean gently rocking me to sleep and the sounds of the creaking hull and splashing waves singing me a sailor’s lullaby.