2.04.2012

Night Sailing - Fantasy

Space Pilot

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pilot a spaceship through the universe? Most likely you have had some sort of thoughts or fantasy about this subject due to the popularity
of the NASA space program, Star Wars and other Hollywood hits. I have been thinking of writing on this subject for some time but have always pushed it aside for later. Well, later is here and I hope you enjoy my experience of being the pilot of my own craft hurtling through space.
It begins on a clear moonless night in the Caribbean Sea, far from land, with stars filling the sky to the point of overflowing. One has to ask, “Where did all these stars come from?” We have all
seen the night sky full of stars but never this many stars. The Southern Cross is just off the bow and the Milky Way looks like spilled cream across the sky above the deep undulating sea. I have never seen the Milky Way so clearly from a place where light pollution does not exist. In fact, there is not one artificial light or evidence of artificial light in sight, except the tiny navigation lights on my own ship. No, there are no bright hues in the sky from highly populated oversized cities and no sky scrapers or headlight beams or anything else that gives you any indication that there is human life on this planet, other than you. It is a vastness that helps you realize just how small your footprint is on the galactic expanse. The night breeze is refreshing but not too cool and it has the strength to power your ship across the fluid rolling surface of this magnificent planet you call home. The set of the current gives you a small bit of a boost on your plotted course and the waves are just large enough to give you an enjoyable motion as you ponder what lies before you. The sea is alive with bioluminescent creatures that create a light show in your bow wave, your slip stream and any other place where the water is disturbed by your track through the salty water that occasionally kisses your lips or stings your eyes. Your sails are full and balanced so that there is little to be done but be watchful and let the autopilot do its
job. It is one of those occasions that remind you of why you love what you are doing.
Your mind is busy monitoring the systems of your ship through valuable inputs from a wide array of onboard computers, navigation equipment and the simple, reliable, trusted, ageless magnetic compass. Sometimes the simple gauges are all you need and can be the most reliable. OK, all systems are go, auto pilot working well, nothing in the way to impede your progress. You slow down your thought process and let your mind work in different way. You begin to wonder why and start asking yourself silent questions about a lot of different things and you begin to
enjoy the majestic beauty of all that is around you. It is now that I am struck with the thought
that this is no ordinary ship, no not at all ordinary in any way shape or form. The truth of the matter is, I am on a space ship. Yes, I know it looks like a sailing ship but hang on for a bit longer and I hope you will see. Well yes I am on a sailing ship, vessel, yacht, whatever term you choose. But for the first time I have the true and real experience of flying through space on my own ship here and now. My ship just happens to be attached to the sea on the planet earth and earth is carrying me through space, around the sun at over 66,000 mile per hour. Yes I know we all know this and it is elementary relativity and not too difficult to understand. But how often are we in a position that gives us this picture and an opportunity to contemplate such grandness. When
we are home in our cars or over our homes in airplanes or anyplace else where the horizon does not seem to continue on and on through the stars, you are hardly able to grasp the concept in such a vivid manner. Here at this moment is looks as though I am on course to penetrate the Southern Cross on my journey. Why not? It is straight ahead and my nose is pointed right at the center of the cross and I am traveling over 66,000 mph? Well we all know that answer but the feelings are quite different if you let yourself be a bit childlike again and forget all that stuff about being earth bound. Let your mind wonder for a bit and imagine just how small you really are relative to all you see at this time. The next time that you think you are really something, big fish, hot stuff, high and mighty……..whatever it is that describes what you think when you feel on top or large and in charge……… consider the vastness of the reality that allows you to exist. Perhaps this lesson would allow more of us to be a bit more compassionate, helpful, and understanding. I often forget to exhibit those qualities and it is then that I need to return to my ship and consider my priorities and wonder why. It is then that I realize that I am the most fortunate of all to be in the presence of and connected to a universe that consistently gifts me with grace and wonder, a universe that thrives on creation.
Then I remember the conversation that the great sailor Henry Morgan had as a young boy with old Merlin in John Steinbeck’s novel, Cup of Gold. “Merlin searched the boy’s face closely. ‘I think I understand,’ he said softly. ‘You are a little boy. You want to drink the moon from as a golden cup; and so, it is very likely that you will become a great man----if only you remain a little child. All the world’s great have been little boys who wanted the moon; running and climbing, they sometimes caught a firefly. But if one grow to have a man’s mind, that mind must see that it cannot have the moon and would not want it if it could----and so, it catches no fireflies. ’ ”
Be creative, keep a child’s mind and enjoy this portion of your journey!
Captain Montgomery

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