A Shuddering Ship

Life has a way of making you face your fears head on whether you want to or not. No squirming or hiding behind a façade of artificial making. It demands a genuine, in-your-face confrontation. Today is one of those days.

My most terrifying fear is strong, gale-force or—yikes!—hurricane-force winds. Right behind that is being on a boat in high seas with gargantuan waves. For years my husband has nick-named me “Sea Chicken” and aptly so. But in that odd, turn-around way of Life, I love being on the water in a boat. And going for a cruise is one of my favorite vacations. Rather than exploring the various ports of call, I’ve always preferred being out at sea.

So here we are, indulging my dreams, at sea for three days on a cruise ship between Vancouver, BC and San Diego, and the captain has just announced that hurricane-force winds will be upon us this afternoon. The North Pacific is preparing to host one of its first storms of the season and we get to be part of it! We were scheduled to go into the port of Astoria this afternoon, but the captain determined it wouldn’t be safe. Huh. He said it would “be best to weather the storm at sea”…yeah, just what I’ve always wanted to do. Not.

Eating lunch in the dining room was an odd sensation reminiscent of riding my horse full gallop over a huge jump. The ship would rise to the crest of the 25-foot wave, airborne, like arcing over the top of the riser, then roll downward into a trough with a shudder, like hooves striking the earth. And out the window it looked like rolling, snow-capped mountains, in motion to the rhythm of the wind.

With each passing hour the shiver and tremble of the ship reminds me of the immense power Mother Nature wields. We are a toy boat in her pool and watery playground. I know now where the term “shiver me timbers” came from and can only imagine the terror of being on a small wooden sailing ship back in the day. My prayer in this moment is that Mother Nature smiles kindly upon us. I’m looking forward to smoother seas and seeing her grace mirrored in calm waters soon.

                                                                                                September 25, 2011

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