Life as a day sail

by John Scull

first you have to row a little boat by Richard Bode. New York: Warner Books, 1993 ISBN 0-446-67003-0.


  Don't let the title fool you, this little book isn't about rowing, it's about sailing. Actually, it's not so much about sailing as it is about how we choose to live our lives. For me it is a profound work of ecopsychology.

Sailing small boats is a deeply spiritual activity for me. It involves a direct connection to natural forces of wind, current, and waves and can only be accomplished by intelligently surrendering to those forces. Along with fishing, gardening, making love, and a few other human activities, success depends on tuning ourselves to nature's rhythms rather than imposing a rhythm of our own.

In this delightful little book, Richard Bode says all the things I wish I had said about sailing as a guide to how life should be lived. We learn of his boyhood adventures with his blue sloop and how the lessons he learned served him well later in his life. This is introspective ecopsychology at its best.

"As humans we live with the constant presumption of dominion. We believe that we own the world, that it belongs to us, that we have it under our firm control. But the sailor knows all too well the fallacy of this view. The sailor sits by his tiller, waiting and watching. He knows he isn't sovereign of the earth and sky, any more than the fish in the sea or the birds in the air. He responds to the subtle shifting of the wind, the imperceptible ebbings of the tide. He changes course. He trims his sheets. He sails."


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