Eliza Lee and a mast to match

Eliza Lee is one of my favourite shantys or “sea songs.”
It could also be considered a rolling railway song, but thats not entirely my point.
On the 26th i had my “golden year” birthday, a term i only learned about 23 minutes ago. That’s right. I’m getting on — like everyone else on the planet i grow older as the years roll by, and it sucks.
Sad really, but there it is.
Well i guess its not sad when its inevitable.

Anyway, for my birthday we drove to Boston to see the USS Constitution — something thats been on my bucket list for years and something Pat and i discussed once — ‘ how cool would it be to see Old Ironsides after having seen Victory!?” It’s something i frankly never expected to be able to do. How wrong i was. Damn, sometimes being wrong is the bee knees.
Believe you me! Everyone needs to be wrong — its ever so pleasant to be happily surprised!

In my minds eye there is nothing more freeing or beautiful than a tall ship, warship or anything with a sail or two. The history behind these old vessels is incredible and i feel ridiculously lucky to have seen the Constitution as well as the HMS Victory, one of the great loves of my life. In another life i would have been a big sea captain with a mighty brass coloured beard, a great crew and a bass voice that could shiver the timbers n’ panties off all the girls on shore.
Think on par with a redhead Captain Aubrey with a dash of Nelson, and a sliver of Cochrane.

Yep, in a dream of adventuring, hot suns and rough seas — this is where i would have spent every moment of everyday. Fixing ropes, giving the powder monkeys a hard time — they’re tough as old boots– those boys can take it and aching over charts like a mad scientist.

She may not be the HMS Victory, but she is a magnificent ship with a history of brilliance in tow; and the most beautiful ship i’ve seen in America to date. And having the pleasure of walking her deck, running my fingers over her lines and feeling the heave of her bosom over the small surge in tide, as i’ve done with so many others — it was magic. True magic.
One of the few things in this world that make me feel like a woman is the feel of a big ol’ship, because she breathes, yearns and sometimes creaks in her planking just the way a woman grows in life. She’s tough, keeps her crew and will rarely ever falter. She is the safe place a million miles from shore, and tugs at her anchor ready for the next adventure on the horizon. After all ships are not meant to sit out a storm in a harbour.
There is a reason a ship is a she.

I know i’m a giant contradiction of a person. I want to be the sailor i know i am, but i want to ride the desert with a good horse and have my farm one day. Its near impossible to do both, but so far i’ve somehow managed to keep them alive. The lights of possibility will never go out.
I will always wish to dive in deeper but for now i’ll do what i can to keep my head above the water.

Ultimately, I had an amazing start to a new year at a new age. New beginnings are around the corner, which i wont divulge until they are more concrete and new ideas are brewing on the stove as they always are.
I’m ticking things off my bucket list every year and i’m so many experiences richer than i could have ever been, had i stayed in England.
So i thank my nineteen year old self for making a hard decision in the space of a mili-second, and not really thinking it through — because it was the best darn choice ever made.


the pirate and the desert

I grew up by the sea. When i was young i would sit by the shore and watch the sun dip when the eve began to peak. I’d always wanted to be a sailor, ok ok — a pirate. I wanted to be a pirate (and i am – land or sea a pirate is me!) What a wonderful way to live. On the ocean in a boat, with the sails full making you feel like you’re flying and dreaming at the same time. When i left college i found my life long best friend — who taught me to sail. I wont pussy foot and pretend i was great. I wasn’t i made mistakes, i’ve had boating jobs where there was one or two bad-eggs giving me jib for being slow or having to stop an think for a second — all i was doing was trying to learn. I kept at it. Because i wanted it so badly. I spent hours and hours hunched over charts, tearing my hair out but in the end i got my certificate because my friend was so patient with me. I think i spent 6 months just working on charts. Even to this day i practice my knots, i read and read and read, i write or research — i do what i can to keep the seafaring life a part of me.

When i moved to Texas my heart ached for my little piece of hidden beach in the sky far away in England some place. Thats the trouble with drifting. You find yourself leaving pieces of yourself behind. My sailing life was in England, but my wandering adventurers soul loved Texas, and still does.  When i was a little boy i wanted to be an American Indian riding out on the panhandle and watching the sunsets. I drift from dream to dream as i drift from country to country, or state to state.
Now that i’m temporarily in New England I sail as much as i can (surprisingly its not all that much because i live in the one place in New England that doesn’t have my kind of boating atmosphere). I’ve had a lot of boating jobs, but nothing lasts forever. You can’t really progress or live off a summer job. But i’ve tried it. Its hard not to be able to do everything you love everyday. So when those tough days come and i dream of the wind in my hair, the creaking planks and taught rope snaring… i look at my life and think about to all those places i’ve sailed to, all those drunken nights in random ports somewhere or i flick through my travel pictures to remember what i achieved ( or i dive into a good nautical book).

the pirate and the desert

I’m grateful for my teacher and even more so that he is my best friend even now. I’m thankful, whilst i may not be pursing the dream right now, that i had the chance to learn what i did, when i could and in a time when i needed it.
I’ve been lucky.