I watch Scotty Ann's bow rise to meet the waves, and fall, and it feels like the rise and fall of the breath in my lungs. I wonder how many thousands of times I have felt that rise and fall. I feel it now, as familiar as the beating of my heart. Even now, although it has been, what- seven years since I set foot aboard her? Even now, although I don't know whether she guides someone else across the water, or rots plank by plank on land. Could she guide another? But who besides me and Logan would recaulk her seams, spile in a plank, or lay down new varnish with such love? Rotting on land? We have seen old woodies left on land, like dead animals, fur stiffening, bones emerging. I most happily imagine her draped in sea growth below the water's surface, sheltering crabs and fish.
I have been afraid aboard Scotty Ann, when the rigging sang. I have wondered if it was possible that we break through the storm and find safe water. When the wind moderates, and the crazy heaving ceases, the peace is tremendous. Scotty Ann might still lurch in the confused seas that persist after a storm, but the fear of drowning is gone. I lurch with her as she falls off waves that pile up counter to the now tamed wind. My body anticipates every wave slap and spin, and lurches accordingly. Not the hypnotic flow of movement when the wind is abaft the beam, but the grateful lurch and scramble of the reprieved. My darling, were you scared too when we reduced sail to just a scrap, and hove to? Your movements were methodical and unhurried. Was it because you had seen so much worse in the rice paddies that you could take the storm in stride? Now I lurch on land without you. I have to close my eyes, regroup, and find the gentle rise and fall, rise and fall, of Scotty Ann's bow meeting the waves. As familiar as the beating of your heart.
© 2017 Maureen Dey - 2/15/17