you never know

originally posted on posterous April 20 2012, 9:31 PM  by aaron freed

yesterday, i stepped off of ‘la bella vita’ (an idiosyncratic 1994 catalina 320) onto a floating dock in chub cay marina. it was after sunset and i was weary. and dirty. it had been only three days since i had last stepped on land – a mere blink of an eye to any sailor worth his salt – but they had been a difficult three days of beating slowly across the great bahama banks from the strange dystopia of cat key. choppy water, sail problems, uncooperative winds, engine trouble…we had encountered just about everything but stormy weather. all told, it had been ten days since departing biscayne bay’s ‘no name harbor’ south of miami for a dead calm on the otherwise lively gulf stream. ten days! ten days to travel a mere 120 miles. admittedly, five had been spent tossing about against a dock in bimini waiting for gale-force winds to subside, but i had earned those miles. those miles are in my bones and forever part of my story.

as i stepped onto the dock, happy to have made the northwest passage and licked the tongue of the ocean (at least a part of it), i engaged in obligatory pleasantries with the gentleman who were throwing back cold beers on the immaculate transom of their shiny and decked-out sport fisher. “where’d you come from?” i asked. “fort lauderdale” they said. “we left five hours ago.” fuckers.

what had taken us ten days of pounding had taken them half as many hours to negotiate. i walked on. and i thought….many things. for the purposes of this post, let’s just say that i thought ‘wow’. how many times do we encounter someone – arrive at precisely the same point in time and space – and yet know nothing of what it took for them to get there? the nature of the journey is significant to the point of eclipsing destination. did you climb to the top of everest? or did a helicopter drop you there? did your daddy give you that bmw, or did you work two jobs and save for years to buy your dream car? one story or the other does not make one person better than the other, but one of the stories sure as hell is better than the other. and that’s not only okay, it’s fantastic. such is the stuff of legend. be legendary (but please also eschew imperative).

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