Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Chalkstorm Sea


The sea was brilliant blue and freshened by a strong west wind. It kicked spray, as white as linen sheets, above the freeboard. Like wings, they were. Like the breath of angels. The sail buffeted under the strain. Buffeted and popped. Then it would catch the wind a bit cleaner and lean the sloop into the oncoming whitecaps. The sun sparkled a thousand times on the crest of each wave. There were few clouds and what there were looked like disintegrated cotton puffs. The breeze was too brisk for them to hold together. The mouth of the legendary Oronoco lay astern and the island of Aruba lay twenty miles off the starboard beam. And there, with a thousand miles of open sea ahead, there in that boundary between two worlds, there in that paradise that all sailors seek, a time when sun and spray and breeze peaks the senses and gives joy to existence, I saw a sight not often seen. A waterspout materialized before my prow, corkscrewing it’s way toward a sparkling heaven. In any other time, in any other place, I would have turned and ran and done my best to avoid it’s wrath. But this day, this perfect day, I raced on all the more, bearing down on the whirlwind, trying to catch it before this pillar of God disappeared. I laughed! I shouted for joy! I raced on to what would be certain doom to those who cared. But as gently as it came, so it disappeared. Yet I laughed! Yet I shouted for joy! But now I raced only the wind, the spray, and cotton puff clouds. I had ridden the wings of angels, and seen existence delighting as a waterspout.

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