Friday, March 26, 2010
Oh Lord! It is 1 o'clock in the morning and Erika is feeling philosophical!
This morning I was thinking about the moment I decided to go back to sea, it was while I was driving to work and the song “Cool Change” came on the radio. I know that song has been played to death but I never tire of it. Anyways, this morning I was thinking about how I had locked away the ocean girl in me to go to nursing school. I had lived on boats since I was 19 and then at 35 I decided to become a nurse. However, if I wanted to go back to school I had to live on land (yuk). So ocean girl needed to sleep and it was a painful separation. I locked ocean girl away for years, and for years she slept. For years I didn't know exactly where the wind was blowing from, didn't gauge the force of the blow. For years I only noticed the rain if I was going outside, didn't worry about hurricanes, didn't own a West Marine catalog :-). Honestly as hard as nursing school was, the separation from the water was the hardest part and I don’t think I could do it again. In ‘07 I graduated from school. Funny though, the ocean girl in me stayed silent, waiting. I did catch a glimpse of her the first time I stepped into the operating room of all places. The surgeon was performing an open heart. Among the machines and instruments, the beeping of monitors and the soft voice of the surgeon as he skillfully repaired a beating heart, I had the feeling of standing on the deck of a sailboat looking out into a raging ocean. It was that same feeling of life and death, of witnessing something grand and mesmerizing, and it was also that same terrifying beauty. I even told my nurse friend about that moment of feeling as if I was offshore again, they thought it a strange connection but it made perfect sense to me. It was a sign, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Then a few weeks later I was driving to the hospital and that song came on the radio and filled my little car with these words ..Cool Change... now that my life was so prearrange, I know that it’s time for a cool change… and I realized I had accomplish my goals, I was a nurse. The ocean girl in me had been patient long enough, she demanded my attention, and got it. Actually, a more accurate discription would be that ocean girl yelled "what the H E double L are you doing living on land and how fast can you get your butt to the ocean!". I was going back to sea!! I felt like I was released from a burden. The ocean girl in me sprang up like a genie from a bottle, joyous in her freedom, reveling in the beauty of a her dreams come back to life. Within 8 months I bought my ocean going boat and was living aboard. Whew!
Moving aboard was as much a divorce from land as it was a marriage to the sea. I don’t miss the four walls of a home, couches, paintings, or big screen TVs. I don’t miss driveways, mailboxes, doorbells or staircases. It is not a dislike of these things, it is just a lack of connection.
Now the boat, the sea, I can wax on and on about the things that give me joy while living aboard my beautiful vessel. I love the foot pump in the galley. I love the creak in the cabin sole as you step past the aft bulkhead. I love the wood, varnished and bare. I love the patina of my bronze ports, the feel of the cool fiberglass beneath my bare feet. I love my old brass anchor light, creaking lines, and the view from my bunk up into the sky. I love sailing, the thrill of surfing down a wave, the heel with the first puff of wind, the thump of the sails as they fill. I love the feel of the helm as the water flows past the rudder with an exhilarating hum. I love marinas, the rows and rows of vessels bobbing in their slips, each vessel, custom and production, unique. I love transoms and boat names, hailing ports and cleats. The long walk down the dock is a stroll through an art gallery of form and function, so many interesting designs with their tumblehomes and shears.
Obviously I am not a land girl, probably never will be. I am so very grateful that I have my sea life back, every morning I thank God for it. I am an odd duck, for some reason it is not natural for me to be on land. Don't get me wrong, land is fine and dandy, but it is not for living on and especially not for sleeping on. Yep, I am an odd duck, but a happy one.