I am back home from a month of sailing on the coast of Maine.
Witness at Merchants Row
We have a 30′ sloop named Witness – actually she is the third boat named Witness that we have owned. For over 30 years I have sailed these waters with some awareness of the connection between sailing and observing/seeing.
August sailing journal
But this summer, after four weeks of living aboard, I think I finally “got it.” What I came to understand is that these weeks have been literally about just seeing – observing and witnessing.
Prior to heading out to sea I packed a pile of drawing supplies, three journals, paper to write on, to draw on and paint on. I packed paper to spin along with my drop spindle. I packed needles and linen thread. I packed scissors and a knife. I packed several books to read. I also packed a small iPad with headphones and the reference guides to the energy work I am studying. I was prepared to be busy and fully occupied.
Shifu spinning at sea
It quickly became clear the the muses of the ocean had other plans for my time and attention. When we were under way, either by sail or power, I used my full attention to navigate our course. A few times when we were at anchor I was able to draw in my journal or the ship’s log to document our cruise. Twice I used my spindle to spin paper into Shifu thread.
But for the most part either by choice or design – this past month I spent my time just looking. I observed the waves, the tides, the wind direction and speed, the motion of the lobster buoys, the seaweed, the porpoises and seals, quahogs and smooth granite ledges.
I heard the cry of an eagle, the huff of a harbor seal, the thwack of the halyard and the hum of an outboard motor. I smelled rotten fish, dewy evergreens, stinky boots and diesel fumes.
But mostly I saw the beauty of the natural world that my heart was thirsty for.
I saw a deep connection between my husband and myself.
Thru the eyes of a puppy
I saw life through the eyes of a puppy.
I’ll admit it is really wonderful to be home where it is dry and warm. And it’s wonderful to be back in my studio with room to make art. But all this feels deeper and richer for the past month of simply witnessing aboard “Witness.” »