Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday: Shore Leave

Those two ships anchored offshore are no more idle than I at the moment. We’ve been going into town to work all day on clearing our house and other regular doings of life, then, exhausted, return here afternoons or early evening. It has been and is incredible, compelling us to stop and enjoy. Better than roses, the salt air. Sound of the sea. You can see to the curve of the earth.

Sunday evening the sea was lapping ashore. Calm, flat Gulf, not rough. Sounds the same now, soothing peace in nature. Earlier the water was clear, taking several days for clarity to recover from last week’s severe storm. Linda is fascinated with the stingrays in large schools skimming along. I am taken with ships lying idle and remembering how it was to be anchored offshore in view of land and no liberty call. No, you had to get the lingo right: sailors had liberty, officers had shore leave. 

This was a hard week past. Exhausting. Last night it was relax and watch the sky. The two ships at anchor, watch their lights come on. Distance is illusive at sea, I’m thinking at least three miles out, maybe five, and long as I look out not down, I am at sea and thirty-five not octo. If an old naval officer were finishing up, no place could be more perfect than this.   

The gifts are incredible. Life. Breath. World around. Sky above and its horizon at sunset. Sea with its moods. Love in its time. Space on loan for a while, a metaphor for life itself. What can I give in return except gratitude. 

LORD, thou hast been our refuge, from one generation to another.
    Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.
    Thou turnest man to destruction; again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.
    For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday, when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
    As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep; and fade away suddenly like the grass.
    In the morning it is green, and groweth up; but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.
    For we consume away in thy displeasure, and are afraid at thy wrathful indignation.
    Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee; and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
    For when thou art angry all our days are gone: we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told.
    The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years, yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.
    So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Psalm XC, Coverdale Psalter and counting.

I have permission to go ashore.


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