A Captain’s Time Ashore
The border between land and sea is clear. The village on the rugged coast is self-sufficient, placid, a slowly evolving geology, an oasis of rest. The sea is an urgent universe of change, of violence, sometimes calm, often a cauldron of furies.
The captain, who knows that discipline is the border between life and death at sea, is a different sort on land. He quietly abides Sunday sermons, listens politely to small talk and cherishes his child’s passing attentions that shine like sunlight through her maturing senses.
Every day, he walks the paths that wind from rocky shore to palisades and higher through woods where he sees the distant horizon hide lands he has seen from his quarterdeck. Usually, he walks alone accompanied by birds, rustling leaves and all manner of land life. Occasionally, a stranger falls in beside him, talking as they walk about the mysteries of nature’s ordering influences around them, the seasons, fauna coming to rest in sedimentary layers that build up over time to create the hills and cliffs over which they walk. The captain listens more than he speaks. He tries to be generous and add to the conversation, but his time ashore is short. The subject of geologic time engages his mind. He sees similarities between watery canyons at sea and their counterparts in the land and he is about to express this thought, but it is too late. The stranger senses the captain wants to be alone and parts way at a fork in the path.
Eventually, at some point, the captain looks up, reads the wind and changes course, and follows the bank of the river that flows from distant mountains down into the harbor beside his village. There, his home awaits. He feels the pressure of time gathering like weather. Farther down shore, the tide has lifted the shining masts and spars of his ship into changing skies.
View my Tall Ships collection and please stop by my Gallery Shop to consider a special series of signed and numbered limited-edition prints for the collector. A miniature print of a tall ship would make a wonderful gift for yourself or a thoughtful surprise for a friend.