2/13/09 – lately


            Hello! Check it out: it’s 9 o’clock. It’s pretty early for me to be writing! Nice. Today was interesting. The morning started out with an eastern window blowing strong and straight across the weather vane. I almost said there wasn’t an edge to it, but it was indeed there, just under the surface. But not too harsh. However, when I left almost eight hours later, the ground was wet and the air sharp with that winter bite, and now the wind has shifted to direct from the north. Huh, I thought as I walked to my car. Quite the change. By the way, I came up with a saying to figure the points of the compass: with west on your left, north is forward. Yep. Neat. This paragraph is terrible grammar; each new subject is supposed to get it’s own. But I don’t like how blogs automatically double space when you hit enter, so I’m going to keep typing till the word. To that end, I think I’m going to continue the story of the sailor. Something about him and that setting seems fresh and fertile to me, with lots of potential. So we’ll keep going with that story line and see what happens.

            So, the word: lately.


            With his back to the shore the sailor dug the oars in hard, driving them through the water with continuous, strong pulls. The western sky hung dark overhead, hidden by the dense blanket of clouds that floated like a ceiling above him. He knew the sun must be rising beyond the shore in the east, but its light had not reached the west toward which he faced. An ocean wind blew from the north, and he smelled rain on its currents.

            Before him, sitting quietly at the rear of the small boat, was a square bundle wrapped in leather. A stout rope was wound round it, thus causing it to lean to one side and rock back and forth gently as the boat rose and fell with the waves. Though the sailor’s eyes roved left and right, they always returned, if for but a fleeting moment, to the bundle, as if it might slip from the boat when his eyes were away. A strange, discomforted look would come to his face when he looked at it, and he would mumble in a gravelly voice beneath his breath before looking away to the north, or the west as if he couldn’t stand the sight of it; but it would not be long before his eyes returned, drawn to it as to treasure.

            So the sailor watched and rowed, until at last the keel of the boat slid upon sand and he turned to look at the eastern shore. It lay in night shadow, and he could see no farther than a few paces away, past the tide’s row of driftwood and seaweed. He flipped the dripping oars into the boat, then leapt in a spinning circle around the bow of the boat and into the ankle deep water. His boots were high riding, though, and he was no more wet than any sailor as he pulled the boat up onto the shore and away from the waves. As he heaved to the rain began to fall, a slight drizzle that pecked at his drab oil-skin slicker with a quiet popping sound, and by the time he had secured the boat out of the sea’s reach the rain was falling steady, though lightly.

Taking hold of the bundle’s rope, he turned and faced the dark east. The bundle he set at his feet, his hands he shoved deep in the pockets of the slicker, which he pulled in close against the rain, and he settled himself to wait.


Meh. Not exceptional, but not bad. It was actually kind of hard to focus with people talking and what-not out in the living room. Environment is not vital (nor should it be – one’s muse is as much intentional as it is spontaneous) but it does not hurt to have a good one. But still. The point is to write, and I like this fellow. He has a mission. Oh, and the fun part was pulling out The Sailor’s Lexicon, a book I picked up from Barnes & Noble last fall. Quite splendid. So. Until next time, dark sailor! We might yet see what is that bundle of yours! Or at least discover who might come down yonder foggy stair!

 (I just realized I didn’t use the word ‘lately’! Whoops…. But I guess, since the point is to write, that I accomplished my goal : )


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