The morning sun was stretching its first rays up into the air and it created a streak of orange by the line of the horizon. It was a calm morning. The ship was moving slowly and the young man felt a twinge of impatience, at the same time as he knew it was ridiculous – you can’t change the pace of a ship.
The young man was acutely aware of the power of the sea, the winds and everything else which his world evolved around. It was not he that was in control, all he could do was to learn to cope within what was there. If he was in charge of the winds, they’d always blow in the direction in which he was going. If he was in charge of the clouds, they would only be there when the sun was too hot to muster. He wasn’t in charge though, and he knew it. He knew it because he had spent enough time at sea to know. He had been shown the powers of nature time and time again. The more he saw, the more in awe he became of nature, yet, the more he learnt to play within her games. When a storm broke loose, he would look up into the skies and ask what he needed to learn from this one, or if it was just a joke she was playing on them all. A tease. Something to make them work for their ride. They had, after all, been given her planet to play upon. If it could be called playing.
As they would reach harbor today the hull would be washed; everything polished to look nice, including themselves. They had been gone for twelve full moons. It was a long time.
The sun was slowly climbing its way up the sky and the warm rays caressed his face, making him feel relaxed. He needed to sleep. He had been on duty the last five hours. It had been a calm night, nothing much had happened, but he was still getting tired now. He wish he could sleep outside in the sun, but he knew he would have to go downstairs. He yawned.
The ship was his home. Maybe more so than the old cottage in which his parents lived. The smell of salt, seaweed, tar and wood felt more familiar than earth and grass. He had been at sea for six years. It had taught him a lot and it had kept him calm. On land he always felt restless and agitated. At least he had done. Now, he wasn’t sure. He didn’t want to keep moving around always, but the thought of staying in just one place…what was there left to discover after some time? What colors and smells would wake him up, resurrect him? He didn’t know. He had never managed to find them before. As a kid, all that ever interested him was when the ships arrived in the harbor and he got to come down and see what they had brought with them from afar – the colors, smells and sensations of different worlds from his own. Discovery awakened him. Routines made him fall asleep. They were nice for a while. They were like resting – one could switch off, sleepwalk. After a while the body had rested enough and longed to once again discover something new. Something different.
There was one thing he didn’t want to be apart from though and that was her. She had moved to their little town when he was gone in travels. Her family came from afar. She was different; she had seen some of the world out there and she wasn’t sleepwalking like the rest. Her eyes were always open in wonder, she studied, she asked questions…
They would talk for hours. They would walk through the fields together. She would ask him questions about the nature around there, questions he, himself, who had lived there all his life, could not answer. She made him wonder about the meaning of things. About how a seed can become a plant. How some men love what others hate. Everything he had taken for granted she questioned. She was like him, but what he questioned was different.
He had always questioned why people chose to live as they did; day in and day out the same routines. Once he travelled and saw how people lived differently in different places he would question even more – why couldn’t they take the best from different places and merge it together? Would he ever find a place where he would feel like their way of living suited his dreams?
He had been used to feeling different; like no one else understood him. Until she came along. They saw the world, so differently, but they understood each other’s differences. Of course there was also the Captain of this ship. He understood him quite well too. They didn’t share the whole world though, they just sailed together. He would miss him if he stayed ashore – she had asked him when they would settle down together and he had promised that when he returned this time they would get married and he would stay. Use his savings to buy a boat and become a fisherman. The idea of seeing her every day excited him, yet the idea of staying ashore did not. He knew in his heart that he had chosen her, but part of his heart died as he thought of living in a cottage always. There’d be nothing new to see apart from when the ships arrived. She found something new in every flower; every spring she’d be amazed by the wonders of nature. As the ice melted and flowed down the mountains, the flowers burst into bloom and the animals gave birth to their little ones. She praised it all. To him, it was the same as the year before.
She was sitting in the seers room, feeling a bit nervous and ridiculous. Most people did not believe in such things as the planets ruling the minds of men in this little town. In the big city where she was from some people did. Here it was frowned upon; your fate rested entirely in the hands of God. The seer entered the room with a smile; her large red and golden robe making swishing sounds as she moved. Her brown hair was hanging loosely; the curls seemingly playing with one other. Her eyes were green like jade and emeralds. She was a stunning exotic beauty and she had a warmth about her that had a calming effect on people who were close. Even the decoration in the little room was warm – red colors and wooden furniture. She sat down, still with a smile and took her hand. “Don’t worry, God created the planets too. This is not a crime, you are just checking out what God created for you.” “How can you know that already?” she asked, confused. The seer smiled. “You see, he left traces. Like the planets. The lines on your hands. The energy that radiates from your heart and soul. It’s like learning to read, but it’s not the alphabet you are deciphering, it’s people. You cannot predict the entire future – God gave you free will, but unless you break free, your path is written.” She felt a tad calmed down by this. It didn’t sound too bad.
The seer looked her in the eye. “You have a beautiful soul and you will travel far. Much further than you could ever imagine. You are worried right now that the man you are marrying will leave you. He will never leave you. He loves you. No matter where he is he will love you. You see, love is funny like that – you do not have to be in the same room to love someone.” She felt anxious – the idea of being away from him still hurt her. How much time did you need to spend away from loved ones? Since they met, two years ago, he had been gone for 18 months out of 24. She did not want to live like that, but she loved him. Other men made her smile, bought her roses, sang to her…he just had to look at her, but it was difficult when he wasn’t there.
The seer smiled at her anxiety. “He hasn’t forgotten you, nor never will he. You are special to him. So if the world separated you and he was forced to be apart from you forever, no matter who else he loved, he’d still love you. Such is true love. You don’t have to worry though. Your stars tell of different tales. Before I tell you what they are, I need you to understand him though.” She nodded. “You see, like you love spring…the excitement to you of the rebirth of nature, so he loves to travel. If you imagine an eternal winter, life would not be much fun. Everything around you would seem dead and it wasn’t just there to make you appreciate spring, it was there forever. Sure you would enjoy the snow, the occasional sunny day when you go skiing, tea by the fireplace, Christmas candles and spicy treats…you would love that, but you would still mourn the spring. To him traveling is like spring – it awakens him, makes him acutely aware of his surroundings, makes him alive, smiling. You see, to him you are the world, but without spring in it, he won’t be happy.” She looked at the seer in amazement. “I think I can understand that, but are you telling me he will always be traveling? That he will always be gone for more time than he will be with me? I would have to accept that, because I couldn’t leave him and I couldn’t let him live without spring.”
The seer offered her some mint tea and she accepted, still, in her mind, trying to accept the idea of being away from him so much. The seer slowly stirred her cup. “It’s nice, you accepted it. So it’s true that you love him. However, it’s not what you think. For him, the world without you is potentially even worse than a world without spring. It would be like a world without summer.” She smiled and so did the seer. “You will wander far together. Soon a party of travelers will pass through town and you will go with them. They will not mind women on their journey, in fact they will like having you there. Your gifts are valuable to them. You heal people. What you know of herbs and spices will help them. You will help them trade with teas as well. You are truly gifted you know.”
She had always loved the sea, just like him. Somehow she felt that it could tell her the truth – for hours she would stand and stare at it as a child. It had brought her him. It had taught her that she could not tame it – she could play with it – jump in its waves and splash it around, but it would forever be what it was. It was not hers, but she could enjoy it. It would take her places, but she had to be willing to go.
The young man awoke with a smile on his face – he had had a nice sleep and now he was ready to enter the harbor. He just needed to wash first.
He could not only see land now – he could smell it in the air. It had earthy undertones and some vague nuances of burning wood – fireplaces. It always excited him to reach harbor. It was for the sake of harbors that he traveled – new places and sights. This one was, however, familiar. It always looked a tad different every time he returned though, because he saw it with new eyes. Eyes that had seen more of the world. He had changed and therefore his perspective. What he longed to see today though was not the harbor, but her. He knew she was well – he could always sense if something was wrong, but today everything felt right.
She stood there. Skirts gently rustling in the wind, a smile on her face. She was beautiful. To him she looked different than any other woman around. It was as if she stood out – everyone else looked a bit blurred, out of focus, but she was crystal clear.
He was even more tanned than before. His brown locks were slightly blonder and if possible even more tousled than she could remember. His teeth, when he smiled, looked as white as stars in his tanned face and his blue-green eyes shone like emeralds with glints of turquoise. His rough hands, would soon hold hers in them – trace her lines, make her remember that she was alive. This was what she loved about him – how he made her feel more alive when he was around – he looked as if he was part of nature, rather than separate from it. He didn’t live within a house, he lived within the world. She had never liked walls, confinements; she too belonged to nature. Together they felt freer than when apart.
The sailor returned home that night, but home was merely a harbor in her heart.
In each individual there is an individual, yet we are all made from the same materials, so inside each person is a part of who we are. Our bodies are made up of the same earth. We feed off what lived here a thousand years ago. In our genes rest the beginning of man. Our lives, as Leonardo said, are made of the deaths of others. To gain you must also lose. To grow you must, therefore, give. It is only by giving that something is returned.
It seems like some people compliment us; bring out the best in us and help us see what we did not see before. We are a team. It is true that you should be able to live on your own and feel whole in you. It is equally true that to build a house you may need one person who can visualize what it will look like and another to build it. It is true that some like to lead, whilst other like to be led.
In other people we find someone who sees the world like us. From that day on, we are never alone, no matter where we are, because our minds are connected, our hearts beat like one.
In each person is a world. How they live, how they see, how they feel might be light years from our own. When they share their world, we discover a new world and ours, as a result shifts.
There is a reaction when we meet someone, but we cannot control their reaction, as little as we can control the ocean.
We love ourselves in others and others in ourselves. We love the new worlds others bring us because they compliment our own. We love and it is through love anything worthwhile is created. We sail, but it is in harbors that we belong.
Maybe I will always write stories of entertainers, sailors, healers and seers – travelers that seek truth and joy in life, whilst creating something of their own. I cannot escape myself when I write, just as little as I can escape myself when I do anything. To me those figures are beautiful, because they are my harbors in this life. They are me and I am them.