July 2006

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Musings of a Writer

By Garth A. Harris
Southeast Valley Line-X

I’ve been ask to write about my sailing experience, which required me to think about what seafaring stories could I regale the reader with?

I could write about the time I decided I was going to break the non-stop solo around-the-world record. But, after experiencing a solo trip from Virginia to Bermuda, I lost all desire to race around the world.

I could also write about Rat, my cat, and how sick he got the first time we hit the open water. But, that would be a pretty messy story, and I don’t want to disrupt anyone’s meal.

Then there was that time I sailed into Sydney port, sans any clothes. I was so used to not wearing them that I forgot to put anything on. But, that story may be a bit to pornographic, especially, the Dock Master language.

Then I got to thinking about the calm days and nights at sea where I spent hours upon hours contemplating the universe and my role in it. But, either my thoughts were too deep, or I’m just not sure I can put those thoughts on paper.

I spent time rereading a doctoral dissertation by Julian James: "The origin of the Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind." Now how’s that for a piece of reading literature?

I guess it really doesn’t matter as I deep six’d that text after trying to read it for the third or fourth time. Actually, I ran out of toilet paper, and I wasn’t about to rip up a good Louis Lamour western or one of my sailing reference manuals.

Besides, the Lamour books made for good trading material.

Come to think of it, there was that time that I was de-masted during a "Perfect Storm" contender. But then I would be telling everyone about how stupid I was for thinking I could handle anything the sea could throw at me.

Also, everyone would know about the time I messed my pants because I was strapped to the cockpit with no relief. Have you ever tried sitting on a toilet during a storm — I’d rather ride a rodeo bull; at least that ride would last only eight seconds.

There are other things I could write about, such as the joy of leaving port and the "Am I stupid?" thoughts as I leave the sight of land to the rush one gets the first time they see land on the horizon and the uncontrollable urge to yell, "LAND HO!!!! TWO POINTS OFF THE PORT BOW!!!"

Which scared Rat so bad, he being so used to the peace and quiet, that my yell almost sent him climbing the metal mast.

So, what should I write about? Perhaps I should start at the beginning — how a Montana cowboy and former logger climbed into a sailboat for the first time and became addicted, to the sun, the wind, and the waves.

But, I think that will have to wait for another time. Seems I ran out of space.


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