Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Back Ashore Blues

My folks have returned to the Chesapeake Bay from an extended sailing trip "down island" aboard their 46' Morris sloop. Though we've not had the chance to visit yet I've had several conversations with them since their return and, while they are generally glad to be home and greatly enjoyed the sail back (barring a day of 50 knots plus in the Gulfstream), there is a note of wistfulness in their voices that I recognize well from my days as a sailing bum. Let's call it the "back ashore blues" - a feeling that can only be well understood by people who have spent a good slice of time aboard a sailing vessel. There's an intensity to living aboard and being at sea...not in the sense that every waking moment is adrenaline charged - though in a blow it may well be - but rather in terms of a dissolution of the layers that typically separate us from the natural element of the world when we live ashore. I'm talking not just about shelter as in office buildings, homes, restaurants, the gym and the like...but as well about Blackberry's, television, cell phones, automobiles, airports, etc.

When you live and sail aboard a boat the natural world is predominant and the feeling of living so close to it - some would say as we were truly meant to live - heightens the senses and lifts the spirit in the way, perhaps, that a lunchtime break taken from the office and spent in the park during springtime might. But when you're aboard there's no returning to the air-conditioned cubicle...

Given this my parents case of the "back ashore blues" makes all the sense in the world. Lucky that they had a reason to catch them at all!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad they're back safely, unlike Jason Franks and his crew. I hope your parents weren't on the water for that terrific storm.