There’s always a reversionary dimension to our lives, isn’t there?  You surely know those times when fond memories or vivid nightmares come stumbling back from the deep recesses of heart and mind, sometimes called up by the slightest word or sight – things that maybe you haven’t thought about in decades, right?

Living lately on the Seattle shore, where I take daily rambles along the active waterfront, often under threatening banks of clouds, past marinas and fishing docks dense with working and pleasure watercraft of all sizes, descriptions, purposes and levels of maintenance, and the varying humans and dogs that populate them, I enjoy observing some of the endless detail that sets the boats and their masters and animals apart from each other. Small sailboats and large sailing yachts, catamarans, power yachts and commercial fishing rigs, runabouts, dinghies and dories, rowboats and kayaks. Paint colors, material textures, manners, languages, relationships to others around, big scruffy dogs and small, manicured and coifed lap dogs, all are part of the mix.

Last stop before heading out to sea.

Some of the details come and go quickly, while others stick — and draw my thoughts again and again, even prompting re-visits for a second or third look. Reasons aren’t always immediately apparent to me.


Take, for instance, this boat (larger one, and that’s her in the header photo). The yellow “for sale” sign caught my eye, but only secondarily. Her sleek lines and curves, her air of utter competence, those were the magnets. Up close, she looked fit for challenging seas, and I was so curiously taken by her that I contacted my seaman brother-in-law, a man with years of sailing experience and a professional captain’s license under his belt. Just to learn, mind you. Didn’t even have her make or model, just her photo and a guess that she’d be a 40-footer or so. Love at first sight!

He advised she’s a Wallace yacht, no longer in manufacture but one of the better makes out there, up near the top of the chart on price, too, depending on equipment and size/class. I dreamt, strains of a familiar old song from my teen years coming front and center, carried by The Kingston Trio, 1965, “Stay Awhile” album.

Stroll down by the sea

Take a stroll down by the bay

Sit and ponder the endless waves

If I had a ship, I’d sail away


If I had a ship, I’d sail away

If I had a ship, I’d sail away

Leave my sorrows where they lay

If I had a ship, I’d sail away

Stroll down by the sea

Where the windsongs softly play

Lean my back on a driftwood tree

If I had a ship, I’d sail away

Stroll down by the sea

Stand beside her misty spray

Though I know ’twill never be

If I had a ship, I’d sail away

Songwriter: MASON WILLIAMS, one of my faves of the ‘60s and ‘70s; think “Classical Gas,” “Baroque-A-Nova,” “$13 Stella,” “Long Time Blues,” et al.

bts-3I’m afraid seagoing is not in my future, much as I enjoy dreaming about it. Past experience sailing on a large lake in a serious storm reminds that I don’t do well in rough seas. “If you can’t run with the big dogs, better stay on the porch.”

But if I had a ship ….

Carpe diem. Vita brevis!

© December 1, 2016, by Michael E. Stubblefield and StubblefieldImages. All rights reserved.


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