Friday, April 7, 2017

Like A Ship Without A Rudder

I pulled out the bike, pumped the tires, loaded the basket for a biking adventure: water bottle, glasses, small purse,-- yet when I passed the ocean, it was smooth as glass. I tried to resist, but I just couldn't do it.

I turned around and headed back knowing time was limited, but to not take advantage of such calm water would be regrettable. Extremely.

I ran upstairs, changed from biking apparel into a swim suit and wrestled with the wet suit, tugging, pulling and continually thinking about time, rushing to be out before 9:00 o'clock. I grabbed keys, the paddle, and rushed to the garage closet. The paddle board looked bigger than I remembered. I shifted the hamper of beach toys, lifted, scooted, and tugged until the board came out. I hefted it onto my hip and carried it to the garage door. Ugh. Getting it out, angling it down the stairs so it could slide out the door was problematic. Finally I was carrying it out to the ocean.

For the first time, I looked at the bottom end of the board. I'd forgotten the rudder.

Keep going. You can still paddle board with out a rudder.

I kept going. Within steps of the sand, how could I be bothered with just a little rudder. And then--a pod of dolphins moving along the shore line! I could hardly remember dolphins being so close. To go back and find the rudder now was unthinkable. I had to get out in the surf.

Since passing on my bike, the placid ocean had shifted. I waited for the largest waves to pass and then paddled with fury-- to no avail.

Okay. New plan.

I'll swim out, letting the ankle rope pull the board behind me. But  each time I dove under a wave, it crashed on the board and yanked me back towards the shore.

Not okay. New plan needed. I'll lay on the board and paddle. Progress almost nil.

Next plan: push the board's nose up and over the wave.

Somehow I made enough progress to have moved past the breakers. I stood up and started to paddle towards the dolphins who had moved farther. Two swift strokes on the right and one correction on the left and I seemed to move forward. Maybe a foot.

I minimalized my expectations. I will be content to stand on the board and watch the dolphins from a distance. Being so far away, knowing I could have been close...made

Paddling pointless. I turned the board around and let the waves nudge me towards the shore.

I was exhausted from the almost-futile endeavor.

The life-without-a-rudder analogy is cliché. The expression, like a ship without a rudder is cliché too.

Yet, cliché becomes immaterial: the analogy and the simile become profound,  when in fact, one is on the sea, on a paddle board, without a rudder.