My son Jeff turned forty last week. In celebration, we rented a 41 foot "yacht" for the weekend. My other son Chris has his captain's license, so we set out for a weekend of sailing. We were six, my husband, two sons and their two wives. We work well together, and make quite an efficient unit that knows how to relax together, so once we did the boat check-out after loading enough provisions for a week, rather than two days, we headed out.
I can't describe what it is to be on the water but those of you who have read Wind in the Willows will understand.
The weather was exquisite. We moored off Angel Island Saturday night and I watched stars in the morning and the evening. Who could sleep? I saw a shooting star. I heard owls. We saw harbor porpoises, pelicans, egrets, gulls, cormorants, grebes, and on land, deer.
We had perfect weather, so motored out the Golden Gate as, in the morning, there was zero wind. Anyone who knows the bay of San Francisco, recognizes how unusual that is. Wind picked up for some slow and then exciting sailing. We went under the Bay Bridge and saw the beauty of the new bridge, as well as the dismantling of the old.
We shared a perfect time, and laughed and laughed, and even now, I sit here and laugh, and I now only go back and forth, but turn and turn. It is quite fun to still be with the motion of the boat.
One thing that strikes me as very funny is that we had some larks aboard, and while drinking coffee and eating breakfast, we realized that we could motor over the the docks at Angel Island, and the six of us could walk around a little more easily than the process of two by two visiting the island by dingy, or "tender" in nautical terms. That meant a quick call to action, and at one point, I realized Jeff and Frieda were up on the dock tying us down and both were in their very cute pajamas. I laughed on the trip and I laugh now.
Sunday morning I was the first up, well, at least out of bed, as on a boat, nothing goes unnoticed, so my quiet attempts to take myself outside, were heard and felt, but it seemed as I sat there outside, watching the dark ripen with light, that I was the only person in the world. I could see other boats and know people were cozily wrapped inside. Perhaps it was an experience like when the astronauts looked back at earth. It was so clear we wrap ourselves in shells of self, homes of boats and houses, descriptions of job and purpose, but truly turning on a boat with moon and starlight, well, it is so clear how blessed we are, and how miraculous it is to simply be alive.
I am grateful.
I wish you a day afloat with ripples and waves of ocean and bay!
I also wish you peace. A friend of mine was at a workshop this weekend at Green Gulch, a beautiful Zen retreat center by the ocean. She was studying with Peter Levine, who works with trauma, especially childhood trauma. She came in touch with some important healing. I pray that we learn to deal with the wars within before we set out to bomb another country, another group of people. Yes, there is a need, at times, for defense, but it seems the U.S. is way outside of what makes humane sense. Imagine if the money we spent on defense were used to give each person an opportunity for as much therapy as needed. Somatic experiencing is a step.