Friday, June 17, 2016

The Lone Sailor

The Lone Sailor. A statue on the shore of Lake Champlain.
The Lone Sailor is near to my ship and dear to my heart.

It is a statue on the Burlington waterfront that commemorates all who have gone, still go, and will go, to sea.

People ask me when and why I became a sailor. I tell them this:

We often attribute our early experiences to our eventual choices. For me, I remember feeling imbued with the romance of sailing when, as an adolescent, we spent vacations sailing with my uncle on Lake Constance. I used to tell people, “That is when I first became a sailor.”

But my brother found those times terribly boring. So, it wasn’t just the experience itself that made me a sailor and him not.

I’ve come to believe that we are who we are long before those early experiences. Rather than forming who we are, our early experiences echo our deepest selves. And once finding an echo, a resonating external experience, we become more fully ourselves.

The Lone Sailor is surrounded by plaques commemorating significant sea battles that took place on Lake Champlain and one of the plaques describes the statue itself. It ends with:

“The sailor never fully leaves the sea.”

The Lone Sailor and, in the background, my ship, the Friend Ship,
on which I take people out sailing on Lake Champlain
so that they might find resonance with something deep within themselves.

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