Adventures of s/v WILD HAIR


Our land life took on form, solidity, routine. We had mastery of a limited set of skills. We had habitual expectations of others and ourselves. Going sailing, we let go of our attachments to our roles, views, and rituals. We persist because we are growing in this shapeless and dynamic world.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Plan is No Plan

Nothing is the same after our two-week offshore journey from Jacksonville to St Thomas. Before, we rushed headlong into life’s pounding surf for fear of missing something. Up and down the east coast we hurried. Across the Gulf Stream and through the Bahamas we pushed, collecting experiences and stories like figurines for the mantel, to be enjoyed in the quiet, inevitable days of infirmary ahead. What caused us to rush?

Twenty years of hard work and habit had its grip on us like a drooling monster that refused to be shaken lose. We had years of sleep shortages, late arrivals, middle of the night worries, going to work and coming home in the dark. Peppered into the chaos was church—a time of scheduled group reflection necessitating cleanliness and organization on Sunday mornings. Also, the stuff of life pressed down: paying bills, cleaning house, buying groceries, managing finances, shuttling kids to piano and saxophone lessons, soccer and football practices, scouts, and shopping for school supplies and well-fitting clothes for fast-growing kids.

Without so much as a pause for a breath of air, we took this frenzied spirit aboard WILD HAIR. Thrust into the unknown we scrambled to learn faster than the mishaps could descend. There was fear in what I did not know. Suddenly, in this strange new big world, my fragile life was in my own hands. We left the safety of land and civilization. Our nerves sparked disagreements. Everything we did was to ease our insecurities: we hired captain/teachers, collected safety gear, upgraded hardware. We worked and worked on the boat with our old dogged determination and hardly a day off. We binged on improvements so we could binge big gulps of sailing. There was no equanimity in us.

But now—after our offshore journey—I am unexpectedly at peace. We are in a beautiful place, the destination of years of effort and planning. The boat is sound. Our skills are tested. I hardly care what is around the corner. My husband’s query as to the intended shape of our cruising destinations over the next six weeks earned my response: “There is too much to see so I’m not going to try to see anything. The plan is no plan.” To my delight, he saw wisdom in these words and quickly agreed.

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