“…the ocean can be an angry, unforgiving force. Like a woman, she can also be delicate, and loving, and something no man can ever truly conquer—no matter how intimate his knowledge of her may be.”
Pale moonlight is glinting off the calm water—creating a straight line of color to emerge from the endless black depths of the silent ocean. The small fishing boat rocks back and forth steadily with each gentle wave rising and slapping rhythmically against its side. Everything else is quiet.
It’s been two weeks since I left Christiansted Harbor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fishing—that was what I told everyone I was going to do. A few friends insisted I shouldn’t go alone, even with my vast sailing experience. I don’t blame them; the ocean can be an angry, unforgiving force. Like a woman, she can also be delicate, and loving, and something no man can ever truly conquer—no matter how intimate his knowledge of her may be. She makes the rules. We can only follow and hope she will be kind.
I’m not out here to fish though. Sure, I brought along all my gear. But that wasn’t to further convince the others of my false intentions. I just don’t have a death wish. My survival may depend on me being able to catch fish. I haven’t planned on how long this trip will last; I didn’t tell anyone else how long either. Therefore, I made sure I brought enough supplies to last as long as I need.
This journey isn’t one of recreation, or relaxation, or even one of brief disconnection from the world. This is a journey of the soul. A means to disconnect from myself—and reconnect with who I once was. So, I left. I left with no intentions of coming back. Or at least, coming back as I currently am.
A cool breeze flows through my hair as I gaze at the countless stars twinkling in the clearest night I’ve ever seen. Crashing against my boat, I can smell and taste the salt from the ocean as droplets of sea are carried in the wind.
It’s not quite cold, nor is warm out, so I wrap myself in a thin blanket and get lost in thought. The heavens glow in a unique yellowish purple trail of what looks to be clouds; it’s the Milky Way clearer than I’ve even known it could be. How miraculous and awe-inspiring it all is. It’s nearly impossible to imagine what could reside beyond those stars, deep within the cosmos drifting through space and time—as I am right now.
What if another being out there has purposely submitted to nature as I have, and is looking upon the night sky—staring right at me? Is there a way we could ever connect to one another? Maybe, if I just close my eyes, close them and let my mind transport my soul to that being. Then neither of us would be alone, or rather, want to be alone anymore.
I open my eyes to a flicker of white light in the distance. It seems to be coming from the horizon. A rescue boat maybe? No, that wouldn’t make sense. At least not in regards to me; I’ve radioed my current location every afternoon since leaving port to resolve any possible worry that may arise due to my lengthy absence. But if not a rescue boat, what might it be?
30 minutes go by and the light gets no closer. Even as I’ve flashed a light in its direction, or reluctantly started my engine to head towards it, there is no getting closer. The flickering light remains fixed upon the horizon, seemingly out of reach forever.
An hour goes by and I give up. No matter how fast I go I cannot catch the light. The dark choppy water splashes behind me as my boat slows. I check my location and cut the engine. What a strange occurrence this is. I decide if whatever is creating the light isn’t interested in me, I shouldn’t be interested in it.
The boat goes back to drifting with the slow-moving water. The fresh sea air has made me tired, so I head to my cabin to go to sleep. But just as I’m about to head down the few stairs to my quarters, the flicker of light turns into a blinding flash. For a second, everything but the sky turns to day: the water is an electric blue, fish can be seen near the surface momentarily, even the cherry red wood of my boat becomes as bright as if it were under that of the afternoon sun. Then just as suddenly as it happened, everything goes black once more.
I wait for what feels like hours, but nothing else happens. The flicker of light has seemed to vanish with the great flash. Perhaps it’s best to try and get some sleep. Of course, I’m no longer tired.