I am not sure if this model ship that I pictured at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto actually qualifies as a schooner and I did not take note of the description. But I love the iconic nature of the boat and the way the colors of the picture naturally produced the antique feel of sepia tones based on the lighting in the museum. Sailing metaphors play a big role in my poetry even though I have never gone sailing.
Anyone out there with a sail boat and a spirit of generosity willing to host a poet on board?
The sea offers an archetypal image of a "great beyond" that beckons the human spirit. Early mariners sailed out across the vast ocean without the GPS and radio waves or any of the aids we take for granted, venturing out on on a prayer and a dream that something wonderful is out there. Sailing in ancient times to uncertain ends was hard work and exceptionally risky. There were moments of terror from raging storms and wild waves punctuating periods of monotony surrounded by endless vistas while feeling trapped on a tiny deck, subjected to a constant sway to which wobbly legs must grow accustomed, and the ever-shifting horizon, blue sky to blue sea blending into one, to which steady eyes needed to adjust.
Now, we may romanticize sailing as an exotic adventure or a lover's getaway to a cozy cove in the tropics, but, on a deeper level it serves as a worthy metaphor for the journey through life. We are often caught up in our little worlds, unaware of the vast unknown on which our lives float, navigating on the whim of the world and without a destination in sight. To sail is to take charge of our little lives, to use the winds, whether they blow with us or against us, as our allies, to learn to weather the storms of our lives, to ride the waves and use the currents, to read the signs in the stars and the sea that guide us, to seek harbors that welcome us, and shores that offer respite, renewal, riches and rewards knowing always that our ship is seaworthy and meant to sail through this strange adventure called life!
If your life was like sailing, how would you characterize the seas you now navigate?
Do you feel you are in control of the ship
or at the mercy of the waves?
© Nick LeForce
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