Morning folks. I was up till three writing a new song. It’s good. I’m knackered.
I was going to post a song I’d previously finished called True and Good, but it has samples from some BBC podcasts on it, which I’m waiting for permission to use. So hopefully, you will hear the newer new song tomorrow. Keep up!
Believe it or not, I have spent the last few days at yachting seminars. That’s right. Sailing ninja Jimmy Cornell and his dishy doctor sidekick had a wealth of good advice to pass on, such as the busiest time to pass through the Panama Canal (February) and whether you can use seawater to treat burns (you can).
However, towards yesterday afternoon, some of that advice went in one ear and out the other, as I got lost in thinking about everything he had told us about the whole history and traditions of sailing. As we talked of the ancient Phoenicians and the routes across the seas carved out by people milleniums ago, which have become part of the anatomy of the human race, I imagined the sailors and tradesmen of today, carving these routes still deeper, and adapting them, and themselves, to a habitat which is changing, melting, and stirring up new storm seasons. I imagined the tectonic plates of the earth watching, tutting, arms folded. “Ooh I was talking to African Plate last night, you’ll never guess what…humans have gone and changed their Atlantic Trade Route! I knew it! I said they would, didn’t I, moon? I bloody said, soon as those warmer winds started last millenium…”
Having only done a few offshore passages, most of which I spent shitting myself (despite the personal locations beacons, artificial intelligence systems, high frequency communication devices and cupasoups, which lull us into thinking we are any safer in the vast, unforgiving nothingness), I have new levels of admiration for those explorers setting out with nothing more than a sextant and a vague idea that one day they might reach land. The courage and vision they possessed, which weighed heavy in their blood and cells and was passed down from those who went thousands of years before them, exists in all of us. It manifests in the way each one of us challenges ourselves, makes changes in our lives and adapts to the conditions thrown at us. Sailor proverb alert!
There is no better feeling than leaving a safe port for the open seas…apart from the feeling of leaving the open seas for a safe port.
Or something like that. A microcosm of discovery exists in each one of us, ruled, like the trade routes, by ebb and flow, and above all, the prevailing winds.
I was haunted by a juxtaposition as the afternoon progressed. The intrepid spirit of the human race is defined by the image of the small sailing boat setting off into the vast unmapped ocean. Imagine the the unimaginable future. Imagine pilot charts for the stars; casual weekend spacemen or more serious space-cruisers anchored for a few years of self-discovery on the outer rings of Saturn. Meanwhile, on Easter Island, thousands of miles from the mainland, those massive stone heads all face inwards, as if utterly uninterested in the Great Beyond. Why? Did they know something we didn’t? Were they more interested in the discoveries to be made inside themselves? Or were they just sulking about something?
I close my eyes and see we adventurous folk setting out, each into our own personal unknown, as we always have and always will. All the while the silent, stony faces of the Easter Island statues stare inwards. What do they know that we don’t?