Just look at this image. Think about it, meditate on it.
Can you imagine being a sailor at sea two or three hundred years ago, looking off the bow and seeing this coming?
What would you feel? Excitement? Fear? Boredom?
What would you think? “Now what?” “Where’d I put that ‘batten down’ list?”
Would the wind be on your face? Would it be cool or warm? Can you hear the sails starting to pop in the wind? There is almost a rhythm to it.
The ship around you, wooden of course, creaks as the waves pick up a bit. Nothing unusual, you are as familiar with its sounds as you are your own breathing. You put your hand down on the rail to balance yourself. Is the wood rough? Or is it smooth?
The Captain starts giving order so do sailor-like stuff to the sails and ship. This is your job. You are good at it. Your life depends on your skills and of those around you. You don’t have time now to watch the clouds, to see their frightening beauty.
Look at the image again. Does your heart race?
Jonathan stared off into the horizon. Ahead, between the ship and England, lay a storm. This time of year, it can’t be just a simple rain. Even as he thinks it, the sails above him fluffs out, sounding out as if they were a rug being shaken by the maid. They were a month ahead of schedule and if the ship broke up in a storm, they’d all be shark shit by the time anyone realized they were late.
The breeze has reached his face now, and he smells the acrid taint of the storm. Aye, it will be a bad one. Captain Wesley calls out to the crew, barking orders to bring about the sails so they might try to run along side it. He stands at the wheel, a giant thing even in his big hands.
Jonathan grabbed the rope and swung himself up. The others un-attached the sail so he and Marcus could hoist it up. It took just a few minutes, if that long at all, but already the wind was stronger. He could feel it more up on the mast than on the deck. There’d be a cold dinner for sure now.
Jonathan stared off into the horizon. A storm was coming in. He tapped his laptop, waking it up from its nap, and keyed in the latest weather map. It should stay to the east, but to be safe, he’d drop the anchor.
That finished, he sent off an email to his daughter in college in Toronto and his wife at home in Old Mackinac Point. He told them he was sitting out the storm but all was well. He wanted to wait until it was over before docking. That way the little boat wouldn’t get banged up.
After sending the email, he started up the little sterno to heat up his water for the spaghetti. In his bag he also had a loaf of garlic bread and a bottle of mineral water. Waiting out here might not be so bad afterall. Waiting for the water to boil, Jonathan turned on the radio to listen to the reports. Old man Wesley was already at his post, collecting names and locations of any ships in the area that may need assistance.
Perhaps after dinner he’d take a nap.