This is taken from an essay by Martin Lefevre, someone Johnnie Moore has just recently introduced to me. I’ve highlighted parts of this passage that struck me as addressing the core of what it means to me to embark on a boat.
This may seem over-philosophical as a description of why I do what I can to set-off on boats and let go of the shore. You must recognize by now my mania for pondering depths and if you are still here, you’ve at least found a way to tolerate it!
I’ve long considered the moment of setting off as a profound transition. One is through preparing and one finally, simply is. Our senses reach out and are rewarded by cues and clues and a myriad of sensations that continually modulate and change in ways that are clearly synchronized with the state of where we are and what is happening even when we may not be able to take them all in or sort them all out. There is also a gentle – if we are open, or violent if we are not! – coinciding between what we do and what we get. Our willfulness is shown for what it is, and we are rewarded for folding it into a wider sort of attention.
On the water we are always on the lookout for the imminent and that which is veiled or hidden. A riffle on the water might be the only sign we get in time of a shoal ahead or of an adverse current. We are looking and we are also seeing, and we must deal with the differences between these two actions. Looking, we seek that which fits what we are holding onto, an intention, a landmark. Seeing, we are opening our vision – our hearing and even our sense of touch – to recognize what we haven’t expected but which is there and will affect us.
Martin’s essay touches on some of the depths beneath and shows us what might be there to see, even if we are not looking for it consciously. Touching on these points is both a commentary on our floating life and an example of the kind of entry into flow that underlies its value to us.
I know that I return to shore reluctantly. I’m always wondering how to carry those feelings, that sense of matter-of-fact engagement into the rest of life.
I can still see vividly the sand and pebbles receding even as they were magnified by the thickening lens of water the very first time I set-off from shore on a sail boat as a very young boy. I was even then accustomed to sand and water, having learned to walk on this beach and then to toddle off into the water. This was different. Floating above, transported, I was in a different realm altogether. The same place, right down to my having waded out and swum on this exact spot many times before; but now I was floating over, riding upon a surface that still intrigues me because it is so substantial yet so ephemeral at the same time. A boundary between the realms of air and water, even life and death if we aren’t careful. It separates them, but is always moving, transparent, translucent, reflective; all those things that also make up our “unfolding consciousness!”
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2 thoughts on “Floating, Flowing”
Fascinating stuff. Contrast with flying in a modern jumbo jet five miles above the Himalaya, for example. A huge and terrifying adventure reduced for most people to a time of boredom and engrossment in a 3rd rate film or a video game, waiting for the next round of plastic food. In a boat, a small sail to a wooded island is an expedition, a risk, a little step into the unknown. Here be dragons. By every possible means we must let our children and grandchildren float and flow. I look forward to your next post. Mike.