I have never been on a sailboat. Or, maybe I have been on a sailboat at port. My dad lives on a boat himself - not the sailing kind - so it's likely that I've stood on someone's sailboat as my dad chatted with a friend. I have never been out to sea on such a boat. Last night I slept fitfully and woke this morning remembering a dream about sailing.
We were all on a sailboat, rough water but not frightening, grayish skies but no storm. No pushing wind, no land to be seen, no clear direction. I didn't know what I was doing, much, but I was making slight adjustments to this or that (the "boom"? the sail) and watching Stephen do the same, kids all below in a small cozy galley. I was nearing frantic - and the boat was just sitting still as I bumbled about it.
Sailing looks passive - you cannot see the wind. If I have ever watched a sailor, I did not understand the adjustments he was making as he moved the boat about. I can see how the steering wheel works - not much more. He moves the sails to catch the wind, and he understands the path of the wind somehow. I can lick my finger and try to guess the direction, but I don't know it for certain, and wouldn't depend on my guess to guide us anywhere.
Last year was a tricky bit of sailing for our family. We guessed at a course - guessed that the wind was blowing southward, followed, and we are now somewhere that we did not begin. Here we are still sitting in that boat, waiting on the wind to pick up, and rather than resting and watching the ocean, I am pouring over maps and charts and plans. But I don't know how the boat works. I can't adjust much at all - I am just waiting on the wind.
Sitting in traffic makes me want to jump out of my skin. I would rather take a route I know will be hours longer, just to keep moving. I like to keep a vision and direction firmly before me. I need to see land ahead, but the distance between where I am and where I hope to go is so vast that I can't see that far, and I cannot gauge my progress.
2017. Little things this year. I'll try to rest and wait, and not be restless while doing so. I'll make a home inside of someone else's home, knowing it is not mine, knowing that what we think we own is not ours, even if we own it. I will make a home knowing that all I do will be undone and packed away in boxes, sooner than I'd like, and I will remember that this is always true of life. I'll visit some places I haven't yet and try to hold onto a vision that seems not to be coming any nearer - a plot of land made for community, for artists and musicians to come in and out, here in this odd new area where we have landed.
I don't even know how that boat works.
2017, I will try to watch the ocean, wait without frenzy, try to stay in the boat.