Sunday, 20 January 2013

That Sinking Feeling

Last night I dreamed that my boat sunk. It's not the first time I have had this dream. I've had it a few times lately with variations each time. In the end, my boat is always underwater, sometimes shallow, sometimes deep, sometimes recoverable, sometimes beyond all hope of recovery. Sometimes we pull it out of the water, sometimes the dream ends there; last night we pulled it out and talked about buying a new boat. Always the boat sinks.

I am a sailor. I love the sea. I have a 27 foot Catalina, an older boat, that I keep in Horseshoe Bay in BC. In my life before ALS I would look forward to being on board at least once a month in the winter, for a week during the spring, and for the whole of the summer. I looked forward to being on board, to feeling the wind and smelling the ocean, hearing the sounds of the sea and the noise of my boat. It's more of a challenge now; I can no longer get on board alone, nor can I handle the foredeck work or heavy lifting.

The ocean calls me constantly. I am at peace there. Every day I think about the sea and the shore. There is not a day goes by but I don't wonder. I love the skeeling of the gulls, the hiss of water by the hull, the burst of whale spout, the leap of dolphins. The sea is life, leaping out, frothing, foaming, heaving, seething. The sea is life, calm, serene, quiet, breathing. The sea is life, full and rich.

It almost makes no sense to wonder about my dream. My boat really is sinking. Slowing the sea of this disease will envelope me. Slowly I will descend into its depths. More directly, I will lose my boat and my life on the sea. I can see it coming, just another change in my life. I am curious about those dreams were we raise the ship up, where I talk about buying a new boat. Is this hope in my dream?

I am considering moving back to the sea, back to where, if I cannot sail it at least I can smell, see and feel it. I am torn. My friends, my work, my daily life is all in Calgary. The ocean is not. I would like to spend more time on my boat before I lose it altogether, before it sinks beneath the briny, black surface and into the depths of this disease.

The sea is life. I want to live once more before I die. I want to go down to the sea again...

Sea Fever by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

1 comment:

  1. Richard, that poem is beautiful. I too love the water. I live on a small lake and I love to take my canoe out to the middle. I have cushions and I lay down in the canoe prepared to read my book and enjoy the quiet. I often put my book down, close my eyes and listen to the subtle lapping of the canoe against the water. I can feel the very gentle movement and I can feel my heart beating. For me it is a very spiritual time. My canoe is probably the biggest boat I'll ever own but that's OK. I could lay in that canoe for hours if the darn mosquitoes wouldn't sting me out of my silence. Keep writing. I so enjoy your posts. You are a very gifted writer in this season of your life.