Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Those perfect, simple moments.

Last weekend I went sailing. It's a company trip I do once a year where a some of us get together, charter 3 or 4 yachts and take a bunch of novices out to give them a taster weekend and teach them the basics of sailing. Most people either decide it's not for them or they fall in love and come back year after year.

This was going to be a nice simple blog with a map of our route and lots of pretty pictures of the Scottish coastline and us looking dashing, windswept and interesting. Possible even some witty anecdotes from the trip. Maybe some wise old words of the sea.

No matter what I tried I couldn't write it. It wouldn't work. Something kept blocking me. So I went back and looked at my experience of the trip. I enjoyed it. Everyone on the boat enjoyed it. Everyone learned something. Nobody died. Job done. I was wrecked.

And that was it. The trip was just one more thing that had given me experience and drained my reserves beyond my capacity to replenish them and I couldn't bring myself to commemorate it. Then, in a moment of epiphany, I was swept away to one of those perfect simple moments that I try to experience and enjoy at least once every time I go sailing. To lie on the bow as the yacht tacks and look up at the Genoa as it passes over.

This to me is such a natural place to be. Lying on the bow of a boat under sail. Such a natural experience. Something that just feels right. Something that has become such an intrinsic memory that I have trouble picturing reality without it. Yet it's so rare. How many people will ever have shared this experience? Perhaps hundreds of thousands. Probably less. I know countless sailors with much more experience than me have never done it, wouldn't even consider to try it. How many more times will I get to experience it in my lifetime. I can't even consider other than to say I'd love it to be more, don't think it will be many and I'm one of a very privileged few to have seen it even once.

Everyone has these experiences. Most of us everyday. Most of us fritter away precious moments that we'll never experience again because it all seems so mundane. I know I do. Then something like this comes along that is unusual. It is so far beyond the mundane that it strikes you in the face and screams LOOK AT ME! If we are lucky we get the opportunity to seek it out again and revel in the glory a few more times. If we are extremely fortunate we notice the secret behind that moment. That every moment is special and must be enjoyed to it's absolute fullest.

So please try and remember to look for special little moment and enjoy them. It may be your child smiling at you unexpectedly, It may be waking up early and looking out of the window at the first rays of sunrise or it may be being in the wrong place at the wrong time, having to drop to the deck and watch a sail fly across your vision as you look up at the sky. Enjoying these things helps to make all the other crap fade and can recharge your lust for life when nothing else will.

This has all been described by others far better than me so if I may I'll leave you with a couple of quotes.

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

Roy Batty, Blade Runner

"Because we do not know when we will die,we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well,and yet everything happens only a certain number of times....
How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood that is so deeply a part of your being,you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless".

Brandon Lee

Sorry if that was preachy or out there but it needed to get out of me.