On the first day of the shore component of the program, all squished and seated around a table in a virtually windowless room, we were told not to fall in love with one another. We were told to create communal relationships rather than exclusive ones, to shy away from cliques and romance, to participate in the shipboard community. And yet, despite all these exhortations, I think I may be falling in love. Of course, this love is obvious, unsurprising, and basically expected by those left ashore. It’s a love for solitude from society, a love for being beneath the unadulterated night sky, a love for sailing, a love for sea, a love for introspection and reevaluating me.
When I stand as lookout at the bow, I usually start off the night singing sea shanties – or rather, the two verses of the one sea shanty I know. Singing soon dissolves to humming, humming into thinking, and then thinking into being. When it’s just me, the horizon, the pitch of the ship, and the fog of the Milky Way, I am able to escape from the inner noise and simply exist. As a rather gregarious person who many can attest rarely stops talking, it’s strange for me to be comfortable with such silence and solitude. But I am - and I’m loving it. I’m loving being both with myself and outside myself. I’m loving being with the sea. I’m loving what I’m learning and the more I learn, the more I love what I’m studying.
To my older sister Cynthia, Happy Wedding Day. I apologize for not being able to share in this moment with you, but thank you for understanding and wishing me well. I’ll be chasing love while you dedicate yourself to it, but know that I love you, miss you, and hope today went swimmingly.