I’m just out here zig-zagging my way around the high and trying to stay on the edge of what’s left of Henrietta. I move in long jibes to and fro. Day by day getting closer to my destination.
My bird, Pluto, is back. This time on top of my bimini. He pokes his head down to look at me occasionally. I will leave his blessings on my hatch and bimini until Hawaii, because when a bird poops on your head it’s good luck. Who cares if it smells like fish guts?
The wind always calms right at sunset and sunrise. The majority of the day it is gusting in the mid-20s, which isn’t so bad, but the waves. The waves, oh the waves, the swell, the waves. Colossal. Chaotic.
Vertically moving water particles of deep water and wind, what went wrong with you my friends?
Crash, splash, boom, pop, splash, bang…
They’re all lost, crossed, and confused. Absolutely mad. Every single one of them has gone rogue and mad.
There is no uniformity to their motion. No order at all, only chaos. Wild, wild, blue chaos. One goes right, another left, one falls down, another jumps up, one moves at 2 knots, another at 6 knots, one curls, another crawls.
There are steep ones and shallow ones. Long ones and fat ones. Blue ones and white ones.
They come from the north, the south, the east, the west.
Hitting me from every angle.
Some rides are gentle. Some rides are flights of fury that rattle the bones of my boat from mast to keel and back again.
There are waves out here that come from the current wind. There are waves that come from the wind of yesterday, and the wind of the future, and the wind from the year 1929. In fact, I am quite certain that some of these waves come from wind that blew in an era before Christ.
The waves bubble up and rise their way into the boat through the galley sink. They jump over the lifelines and into the cockpit. They make their way into the bilge through who knows where?!
It feels like the artistry of a squall, but there is no squall in sight. And the condition is prolonged vs ephemeral.
Walking around I brace myself on anything and everything. I engage muscles that forgot they existed. I walk somewhat sideways or slanted and step with legs wide and alert eyes.
That which is not lashed down, flies through the air: coins, books, rugs, dishes, spices, records, food, rainbows, my misplaced thoughts.
The deck of the boat is now a coffin for flyingfish who flew like arrows out of the sea and mistook my boat for a wave. I’m sure it’s a common mistake in sea state such as this.
I will give them each a burial as soon as these waves permit. I will sing to them as I toss them back into the sea. If I had it with me, I might play for them something dramatic with lots of twists and turns like “Rites of Spring” by Stravinsky, but I don’t. So I have decided that I will toss each one towards the sunset and sing “Ride into the Sun” by The Velvet Underground. Every time the song says “city” I will replace it with the word “sea” and I will replace with word “people” with the word “fish.” It will be a nice send off. Don’t you think?
I just started reading “Sailing Alone Around the World” by Josh Slocum. He was the first person to circumnavigate solo and did it in 1895. This man and I are feeling the same things out at sea. His favorite wind and wave state is a Fresh Breeze too! And he experiences the loneliness of solitude in a severe way as well. In any case, he was told that he would forget how to speak out at sea alone, so he talked to an imaginary crew at first, and then feeling foolish about it decided to just sing. He said when he sang sea turtles and porpoises rose to the surface to greet him.
So I shall sing to the flyingfish who mistook my boat for a wave and perhaps more creatures will come to visit.
Out here at sea, I have memories of a time before birth. A time of drifting among beams of light that flowed straight from the source. A time when there were no boundaries of skin between particles and the heart need not beat because it was already one with the very rhythm of the universe.
Then I can feel myself in the womb. I can hear my parents from a distance. My mom is speaking sweetly and my dad is singing. I think it’s a song by Elvis. I am enveloped in water and darkness, but at peace. Their faint voices carrying me towards a new dawn.
I have memories of being a child and the things I cared for most: turtles, butterflies, seashells, wind chimes, glow worms, the sun, holograms, things that sparkled, honeysuckles, light, dandelions, creeks, crawdads, trampolines, woods, and empty cardboard boxes that had the possibility of becoming whatever kind of fort my little sister and I could imagine.
I try to recall the voices of my family now. Every single one of them. I can’t fully capture them out here. I can hear them each saying one word with their own special twist and twang that belongs to the south, but not full sentences.
The word I hear them say is my name. My sisters call me “Wawa.” My cousin Becca calls me “Tivs” or Livia, the O of my name sinking to the weight of the L. My cousin Alexis calls me “Tivvers.” My mom calls me “pumpkin,” for a while she was calling me and saying “hey shorty” but I put a stop to that. Everyone else says my full name.
I want to hold onto those voices and take them with me and I’m crying uncontrollably because I can’t. Because things like this can fade. Everything can fade and wilt on the vine of time.
I can speak out here through satellites. When my ears are thirsty for a human voice, I call my mom, but our connection is distorted by the dance it does through space.
I think about my grandmother who passed several years ago. She taught me to stay wild and be present. To not give a damn about the past or worry about the future or care what others thought of me. She taught me to travel and experience a world beyond my front porch. She showed me how to dance with life as if it were the bull and I the matador. And most importantly, she was the first person who exposed me to poetry.
I can remember many things about her, like the lines of her face and the way she smelled and laughed, but I can’t hear her voice speaking anymore.
As she was crossing over she would have waking visions that she was at parties with friends of hers who had already long passed. She could see their faces vividly and would have long conversations with them.
I think about this and hold onto it with hope. That those voices she hadn’t heard in years had returned and one day hers will return to me.
I imagine that once I’m on shore the plethora of human voices might startle and deafen me. So for now I will continue to soak in a world where only waves speak and hold onto what I can of my favorite human voices.