Sometimes life feels like a long, confusing dream. A map with no ocean. Rooms within rooms. No light shines through the crack of the door. Uncertainty lurks beyond. Death beyond that.
But trace the arcs of the path behind. Twinklings of laughter. Feel the hardships endured.
In this mornings dawdle, I glimpse video of a ship that I used to sail. Between the two ships, I spent the better part of ten years. Corwith Cramer and Robert C. Seamans. Ships so familiar that I can climb up through their companionways in my mind. Hands instinctively reaching for the knotted rope – smoothed by the briny fingers of a thousand hands. Sweat mixed with tears mixed with endless ocean. Teak like the scent of a dog’s rough paws – revealing miles traveled on wandering line.
In my busiest year, I sailed spent 272 days at sea. With no firm footing on land, my stability became the rocking ships beneath me. The shipmates that came with me. Friendships I hold dear.
Education can be many things. Ideas. Concepts. Equations. And then there is LIFE. In the words of one great captain, “I don’t give a shit if they remember how to use a sextant, titrate a sample or navigate celestially. Hell, I just want them to learn to be good people”.
A ship teaches you that. Tight quarters. Weather. Nightwatch. Blown out sails. The doldrums. Gear adrift. It teaches you to find ways to help because everyones’ survival including your own depends on everyone elses success.
As young adults and educators, we were trusted to bring this ship across the ocean along with these even younger students. We brought these ship across the oceans surface and back and, in doing so, I learned how to grow wings.
When I look back into the past, I see adventures and friendships. Struggle and survival. Loyalty and hope. Feel the pulsing smiles, hear the twinklings of laughter, the sun soaking through your shirt…. Now looking at the dark door of the uncertain future – a barely audible click. Light streams through the seams beckoning me forward and through.