Following Sea


Not that the chrome-blue, white-lipped waves don't overtake, it's that they don't

overwhelm. Hard to believe when you're out there, fighting the tiller, watching

out for the jibe.


One by one each swell builds behind the straining dinghy and, as if to move on           

to the larger task, lifts it like a drifting plastic milk jug and passes under,

bearing down on our stern now, encouraged by a stiff southwest breeze,

overtakes, shoves our little sailboat this way, that way, moves on.


Because I am afraid, my senses are all I know. Deafening wind in my ears.

Mainsheet chafing palm. Leg muscles tuned to this tango. I see the world as it is,

all at once: storm petrels and shearwaters, pitching horizon, buoys, calligraphies

 of clouds, boats passing. And, peripherally... What did you say? Turn toward me

 so I can see your voice. Suddenly, there is the smell of honeysuckle!


The very repetition of waves reduces fear to acceptance, then monotony. By

Portland Head, swell has lost to tide and current, persists as nothing more than

a string of watery nudges: the past, the past, the past, taking forever to catch up.

 And move on.

 What's left behind...whitecaps simmering on the surface.

--Marie Harris