The Tao of Sailing

Today, I’m sailing from land, toes curling in the sand, beneath the shade of my beach umbrella while I watch a sailboat far away at sea. It’s been awhile since I last set foot on deck, but the experience of sailing somehow remains, things you don’t forget like the burble and splash of water against the hull and rise and fall of the boat, trough to crest. This boat, one sail full-blown, the other furled seems hardly to be moving, but I know.

I know for example, as I sail along from my vantage point, that one sail is silent but for the sound of captured wind, that the lines of the other are singing and slapping against the mast. The sun is shining down, iridescent in the salt spray that splashes high, and the sound of the water forced from the sea is exhilarating. I know we’re moving at some speed while the world stands still. I know there aren’t words to describe a cerulean sea that never ends. I know that the wind that whips against my face belies the heat of the day. I know I’m bareheaded and that the warm deck is like a living thing as it moves under my bare feet. Tonight, my body will continue to ride those waves even while I’m on dry land and in my bed. The salt on my lips will remain till dawn.

Unlike things that fade, the face of a friend, the name of the street where you once lived, the Tao of sailing remains, awakened by the sight of a sailboat navigating a gemstone sea.

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