Kagán is a bluewater cruiser, a stout and seaworthy sailboat. If we, her crew, are prepared and courageous enough, she can take us around the world. The sailing instructor who gave me the know-how and instilled me with the confidence to singlehand Kagán when I took the helm as skipper, spoke about boats like Kagán as magic carpets. And she ought to know, she sailed hers around the world twice!
The lure of that magic has sailed through my mind and heart for years. Not that I’ve romanticized what full-time sailing would be like, though it is tempting to do so I’ve fixed too many leaky hoses, changed too many joker valves (part of the head assembly, yuck), spent too many hours waxing and polishing, and changed the bulb in the anchor light (which happens to be at the top of the mast) too many times to do that. But the self-sufficiency an ocean crossing would require, the courage it would demand, and the awe it would inspire intrigues me. Just imagine standing watch on a clear night when the moon is new and no light pollution from horizon to horizon – only the stars in the sky and the bioluminescence in your wake. Sailors often use terms that invoke flights of fancy – we fly spinnakers in light airs and we sail wing-on-wing on downwind runs.
But these days, the flight of fancy that crosses my mind most is steering a heading toward a destination that hasn’t lost its moral compass, and concerning myself with trade winds not trade wars. Casting off the dock lines for a faraway port would leave me too busy to follow the news on a minute-by-minute basis, even if technology could keep me connected. Instead I’d be setting sails and standing watches and fixing what breaks (because Kagán, as stout as she is, is a complex piece of equipment afloat in a corrosive medium whose motion is ceaseless and powerful).
But here on land, there are values and people and landscapes I hold dear. So my decision, at least for now, is to stay grounded and try to fix what feels broken here, knowing there’s a magic carpet I can climb onto and sail away someday if I choose.