August 20, 2015

Why we sail the sea

HILAIRE BELLOC was many things in his lifetime, but I like to remember him as a sailor.  He lived from 1870 to 1953 and held dual British/French nationality. He was one of the most prolific writers in England in the early 20th century, and among his best pieces, in my view, was his description of what makes a person sail the sea:

“To sail the sea is an occupation at once repulsive and attractive. It is repulsive because it is dangerous, horribly uncomfortable, cramped and unnatural: for man is a land animal.

“It is attractive because it brings adventure and novelty at every moment, and because, looking back upon it, a man feels a certain pride both in danger overcome and in experience. But it is also attractive in another and much more powerful fashion. It is attractive by a sort of appetite.

“A man having sailed the sea and the habit having bitten into him, he will always return to it: why, he cannot tell you. It is what modern people call a ‘lure’ or a ‘call.’ He has got it in him and it will not let him rest.”

Today’s Thought
Cruising is more than a sport. The mood of it comes over you at times, and you can neither work nor rest nor heed another call until you have a deck beneath your feet and point a bowsprit out to sea.
— Arthur Sturges Hildebrand.

Paddy was crossing the fairway when a ball smacked him on the back of the head.
A golfer came up and said: “Why didn’t you get out of the way?”
“An’ why should I?” said Paddy angrily.
“Because I said ‘Fore!’ and that’s a sign to get out of the way.”
“Oh and is it now?” cried Paddy. “Well I’ve got news for you. When I say ‘Foive’ it’s a sign you’re going to be hit on the jaw. Foive!”

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