An oddly pea shaped cocoon, floats at anchor. Patient. We knock up against the stern, she doesn’t flinch, and clamber over the life lines, around the wheel, down into the cockpit. Inanimate stability, but it doesn’t feel like that. We have taken our earth mother to sea. She is ours, our protection. Worming our way up into the fo’c’sle for the anchor chain, roaming the deck on lookout for rocks, claiming space in the galley, circling her royal blue, barnacle-crusted hull for a morning swim, climbing the steps on her golden mast, burrowing down into the oily bilge, we claim every piece of fibreglassed plywood and metal our soft bodies bump up against.
There’s a wisdom in her body, that keeps telling us how it is, even though we are too obtuse to know.
She needs a mast to sail, to fly with the wind. This arrow-straight mast, sends my gaze upwards beyond the weather cock swinging into the wind, pointing to something beyond, reaching up, and yet held by the stays, rooted to the deck. There’s tension in every atom of metal, when the wind fills her sails. Its not easy staying behind to tame the wind, but she does.
Under her belly, the keel points down, an upside down shark fin. Filled with lead, gravity, ballast, it slows the wobbles and slip-sliding, so we hold a true course and sleep well at night. I can just see it when I swim close: slimy, hidden, threatening protuberance.
She has a rudder of course. A boat is lost without a rudder. She is telling me this. The rudder will keep the course I set. But I do need to set a course. I do need to know where I want to go.
Everything about her is telling me it is not so difficult. The ropes, shackles, rudder, keel, mast, sails are all on display: the mechanics and reasons are graspable: I can comprehend.
She is telling me how to be with the sea, this powerful, unpredictable, life threatening elemental force that shaped my birth. The sea is surely too wild. The shape of her wooden bow, the curve of painted belly slips her through and over and tumbles her down mountainous waves, into the troughs at the bottom and up again. She rides their fury with glee. She was built for this. I am built for this.
These sailing adventures — and many more — are detailed in Dyana’s Anchors in an Open Sea trilogy, beginning with book 1: The Yoga of Sailing.