I miss sailing

Epic trip in May sailing from Guadeloupe to Martinique with our expert sailing friend Dave. Canceled.

Sailing, just the two of us, in the San Juan islands over the week of July 4. Not happening.

Our January trip sailing in Cuba and our February jaunt to Miami for the boat show feel like far distant memories. Something that might have happened years ago or not at all.

In just a few months, the whole world stopped, grieved, and shifted, leaving all of us to wonder what happens next. “I can’t breathe” hangs heavy, from the clambering for respirators to the haunting words of George Floyd. It seems that only Mother Earth’s air and water and non-human creatures had a short moment to breathe deeply while we were all indoors.

Where do we go from here?  How do we get there?

With all that has happened, it seems so selfish and entitled to say that I miss being on the water. Who am I to want something for myself when so many have sacrificed so much? And truthfully, I haven’t wanted to write about or even think about the frivolity of charter sailing with much greater and graver matters at hand.

But today, I find myself missing sailing.  Most likely as an escape from all that has happened and the deepening divide growing between large factions in our country, the deepening divide I feel between myself and specific individuals who I thought I knew, but realize I never did. We simply are not in alignment on human decency.

Sailing seems like an ideal escape from this reality. Suddenly I miss the anticipation of having a trip “on deck”, I miss the people and the places, and mostly I miss the social distancing.


Maybe that isn’t quite right. I do miss genuine connection. But my fatigue with the onslaught of ugly self-important behavior has elevated my desire to go off-grid, to get away.

Maybe what I really need is social media distancing.

This blog post does not provide any answers because I don’t have any answers. It isn’t a monologue on how we should do simple things to safeguard the well-being of others and how we should treat all people equally and recognize that we have quite a way to go to make that happen. Others have articulated those concepts better than I can. And If you don’t understand these things by now, you probably never will.

You go your way, I’ll go mine.

At this moment, I’d like to go by sailboat. To climb aboard, to leave all of the technology behind, and to focus on simple things like raising the sails, turning into the wind, anchoring in tucked away bays, and spending time with people I love. To leave the illness and fear and division on shore.

To sail away.

The silence on a sailboat at night is a connecting force. If you are anchored in the right spot, you can climb on deck and stare up at the stars in silence and find peace in that moment. You can press pause on all that is happening around you and just listen. Listen to yourself, your heart, the water, the wind, the world.

What I miss about sailing has nothing to do with the act of sailing. I miss the simplicity. I miss the absence of chaos. The opportunity to pause. To listen. To learn. To do better.

What I miss about sailing is something I want for myself, but also for those around me whether we agree or not. It is something I want for our whole upside-down world. Especially now.

You go your way, I’ll go mine. I don’t really want that. What I want before I escape under sail is to somehow collectively find a patch of common ground to build on so that we can all unite and move forward. Together. A tall order, but possible if we pause. And listen. And learn. And do better.

You’ve heard this one before, but it bears repeating.

Human Kind. Be Both.

Posted by gorilla