View Full Version : Podering the soul one's boats

Ted Hoppe
12-06-2010, 08:12 PM
Many indigenous groups believe that all things possess intrinsic sprits which can be found in all of nature. By the act of creating by master craftsmen is by fact a spiritual ritual which not only shapes the weapon, tool, house or boat but hones a reverential possessed soul that guides it's user and caretaker.

If we look at our own wooden boats, we see magical and charmed vessels whose spirits dwelled in the trees long before it was ever sacrificed, forged to possess not only is natural ordained powers of it's own but is built upon to be greater in it's original condition and moreover then begs to sacrifice to do the bidding of it's caretaker captain. Our world mythology and shared human experience tells us that master built boats serve more than just transport but delivers us the connection between our current life's journey and our afterlife. They remain our constant companion, rising to be our protector, holds us like our mother and becomes a great teacher who reveals our cosmic world when we wish to see and listen.

I recently forgot the covenant to which this animist principle is applied and I had agreed to heartfelt commitment nearly 7 years ago. This black hulled sloop has reflected my personal triumphs, setbacks in my career and in the demands as I raise energetic family. I still do call on her to shine at least twice a year in a silly endurance bay races and to wring her out in a regarded old timer regatta. Most other times she is best as to provide me a quiet place to rest away as I examine my own doubts or ask/listen for answers to my own life. I had a busy summer which passed quickly to fall and found myself with not much time or money to give toward her. So my old wood boat has sat weathering these first california winter storms under a single small blue tarp and held to the dock with worn lines. Her wet bilge suffers from a very slow leak from a bad, old fitting and seems to getting wetter with each new storm run off from her lose teak seats in the cockpit.

My old boat still watches out for me. Forgives me for the neglect. Waits patiently for my few kindnesses. Smiles smartly when I take her into a stiff breeze. Still has a warm berth to hold my tired mind.

Despite this loyalty, in recent weeks I have explored sharing another grand boat with a good sailing friend which he too is restoring and care taking. For me to take a bigger position on this new 85 year old Bristol cutter I will need to slip out my ownership of my hard chined 60 year old girl. In some ways I may have already moved to give her up. As for this new boat, her spirit stays with the one who possesses her and is not just care taking her regardless of effort. As I have already felt as I sailed with my friend, this other grand lady to whom we are to share can not serve two captains. When I come to a final decision about my sloop and will chose her fate... I know for one that I will miss the mystical connection that I have enjoyed and am certain a boat cannot be forever as well as share it's soul with more than one master at a time. The soul of a boat sees the rest of her passengers and admirers as mere crew on route to her primary duty of delivering the knowing master.

john l
12-06-2010, 09:11 PM
The spirit and energy that goes into creating something is reflected in the final product!