“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” Grace Murray Hopper
US admiral & computer scientist (1906 – 1992)
I have this longing for the ocean… I like lakes, but something in me loves the salt water ocean. I have never quite honored that. My grandfather, Captain Reed Turney Roberts (Annapolis class of 1923), together with my mom’s “Uncle Arlie,” (family friend Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, last Chief of Naval Operations, the father of the modern Navy – cool, huh) gave my mom a deeper love and connection to the ocean, begun for her I think in her young years sailing with her Uncle John off the shores of Mt Desert Island in Maine. What freedom that must have been.
I can smell the salt water now, remembering when Cassie and I watched in silence, except for the ocean sounds, as the regatta ships sailed past us on the Sea Wall all those years ago. I have not been back in many years.
Perhaps my DNA just has an inherent understanding of oceans and ships even though I know nothing about sailing. You see, if you are a ship and you remain docked, you never accomplish your purpose in my mind. Docking for ships is a short time of rejuvenation, drying sails, cleaning, painting, polishing brass and stocking the hold. Important, but short-lived. Docking is only a tool to make sure the ship can then fulfill its purpose of sailing.
Does this mean a ship should not sail?
In the tempest of my understanding, I have to remember this when I feel like I am drowning. The ship’s journey may be to a destination presumed, but that does not mean the reality will match the travel documents, and the condition of the ship on its arrival is not guaranteed. For ships, we inherently know this and have accepted it.
I found a poem I thought I’d share for friends who, like me, feel the pull to journey out but know that they cannot carry expectations, even though some of our loved ones need us to have a better plan, and for the anchors who love us and struggle to be ok with us. For both the anchors and the ships, not understanding one another’s purposes fully, just remember that if we were all made the same, most all of us would be unnecessary and there would be a great deficit.
I just had this fleeting moment of memory with my great grandmother as we sat out on the deck overlooking her dock, glancing left towards the home of the shipping magnate Mr. Homer and his new dock, seeing it “dry docked” because the builder/designer apparently did not understand that the ocean had tides (or as Tinka suggested, perhaps was nipping at the bottle in a crucial moment of his design process..something like that). We had a good chuckle together.
Sometimes even the dock is wrong. Wow. This could have been written better, but the editing process will take away its passion so I respectfully decline. Thank you Todd and Lydia for reminding me of who I am, though that was probably never your collective aim yesterday.
Ships Are Safe in the Harbour (author unknown)
All I live for is now
All I stand for is where and how
All I wish for are magic moments
As I sail through change
My resolve remains the same
What I chose are magic moments
Because ships are safe in the harbour
But that is not what ships are made for
The mind could stretch much further
But it seems that is not what our minds are trained for
We call for random order
You can’t control Mother nature’s daughter
Ships are safe in the harbour
But that is not what ships are built for
The witch hunter roams
The scary thing is that he’s not alone
He’s trying to down my magic moments
As we sail through change
Ride the wind of a silent rage
And sing laments of magic moments