Over the bleak whale-road

Bewildered Grebe

A bewildered Grebe in a punk hair-do ducks under the lightly rippled, gray surface of Eagle Harbor as we steam past the green buoy marking the channel. Old Hand heels sharply to port in a sudden gust as the honk of the Bainbridge/Seattle ferry echos over the rolling hills of Eagledale.

It’s Spring, season of departures; when we  succumb to the age-old lure of quest, and deeds of heroism, tragedy or folly are undertaken.  They are the stuff of legend, of epic voyages recounted around the galley table by dreamy minstrels or aged salts over a pint. Something in us is forever departing along the imaginal meridians vaguely descried in youth, over the bleak whale-roads of yore.sailing Old Hand 08 021

There’s Agamemnon’s dramatic farewell and foul sacrifice for a fair breeze toward windy Troy. Oaths hurled into the spray are drowned by the weazy bellows of a fake northerly gale.   A sword held against a blood-red sky by a masked tragedienne brings down the threadbare curtain. It is the ritual re- enactment of the primal leave-taking, when carved gods brooded from the bowsprit, holding vigilant watch while we set out toward the golden isle of dreams.

I too, have sat hungry around those ancestral fires, a villan, hero or common swab, subject to the changeable turns of an unswerving fate.

I haul the main halyards as the mainsail flaps in the freshening breeze. Old Hand hesitates, like a portly dowager lifting her skirts before a pier-head jump, and falls off on a starboard tack toward the red buoy that marks the southern extent of Tyee Shoal.

We hear melodious calls to haul away in the pump shanty’s that float over the troubled waters of time- a theme that has lifted the spirit  of land-lubber and salt throughout the ages.

In Watteau’s painterly celebration of leave-taking, Voyage to Citheria, we see jaded gentry waltzing down a winding path to a moored lighter bound toward the Arcadian isle.

Courses drawn on a yellowed, dog-eared chart mark the departures and arrivals that make up the saga of Old Hand. She recedes forever like a fog-bound light, into the theatical haze of memory.

What am I departing from? I set out before dawn, with only my own noisy mind as mate. The Captain, asleep below, will soon ascend the companionway stairs, glare at the rising swell, shout imperious commands like Gregory Peck, and set the unsteady keel of this narrative on a true course toward an imaginary landfall.  He is the guiding spirit of this voyage, a horn-fisted old coot named Saturnius McWhirr.

Categories: Saturnius McWhirr stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Marina Kanavaki

Art Towards a Happy Day

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

Writings By Ender

One Hell of an Apprenticeship

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational Quotes

Sideways Angel: Heather Keyser's Perspective

Drawing my truth and writing what burns.

Dr. Stein's Photographic Establishment

Photographic Life In The Little Studio

Linda Beach

Artist and Teacher

jill millward artwork

blogging and oil painting about my daily adventures in art & life...come follow along!

Vistas of Reality

Fantasy and sci-fi reviews and fiction by J.J. Adamson



Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People

Old Road Apples

A Magnificent Fountain of Gurgling Wit, Wisdom, and Intriguing Insights. Some Other Stuff, Too.

Metaphysical Reflections

Exploring philosophical, psychological and spiritual concepts & ideas with a view to illuminating the mind.

rangdrol's Blog

open space - luminous clear - empty mind



Early Modern at the Beinecke

Early modern British and European collections of Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

%d bloggers like this: