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Writins of Weakeyes Cody

                                  Talented and witty writings

She Rises Well To Meet The Sea!  @2009

I love reliving the ways and means of the historical American west. I love watching the eyes of the kids light up when I kneel down to speak with them. And I care a lot that they are interested. I hope generations a long time from now will still hold these things as valuable. For my younger years saw the very last of the horse drawn era and the final days when native Americans sat on street corners and talked in their blankets and feathered clothes.


Yet, while I enjoy these things to the fullest, my life’s longing was to sail. Not to be pushed about by an outboard engine or plane across the water in a Chriscraft, but to hoist a sail, watch it belly out and feel the surge under my feet of pure wind power. I did that! Yep, it’s true I tell yuh. Once back there in my checkered life I bought a sailboat. The largest trailer sailor available at the time. Twenty five feet of fiberglass and resin sporting 185 sq. feet of Dacron. She had a swing keel, six hundred pounds of lead and steel to keep her upright, and what she didn’t have I put aboard. She loved the wind and we called her ‘Miner’s Lady.’ A sailing craft needs a name for she, like a steam locomotive, is a living thing and takes on a life of her own under sail, and she inscribed a decade of memories for my First Mate, my Son and Me.


I read a score of books on how to sail and had it all right there in my head. But I discovered that ultimately I and my family would pay for my initiation into the legion of ragmen. And pay we did. Mistakes were made and were I to do it over I wouldn’t punish my family like that. But that’s a hindsight observation.


Miner’s Lady, went on to sail from Frisco, to San Diego, and up the Sacramento River as far as we could. We discovered that the lakes of the desert were far more treacherous than the Pacific Coastal waters, with the sudden rise of sixty m.p.h. winds. And many other little important trivia that comes when one uses nature for forward motion.


Still, as all learning accomplishments, there comes an hour of commencement. A moment when you realize you have reached the summit or at least the place where you can predict and plan with reasonable accuracy, your departures and arrivals without undue surprises.


We set sail late one evening, my son and nephew, out of Ventura, bound for Santa Catalina’s, Avalon. The wind was light and it took a long time to pass the lee of Anacapa Island. Darkness fell and my crew went below to catch a few winks leaving me exactly where I wanted to be at the helm of my craft. Eighty some miles before my bow and nothing but a compass to guide me. It was here I determined how the sailors of old must have felt with nothing but the ship between you and eternity.

The night was as black as a mine, and I had just my compass and the stars to guide her. Or so I thought. Upon further observation I saw off my port quarter a dot dot dot dash of a light. Three short blinks and a long blink. Which in Morse code is V. For Vicente. Point Vicente, at the foot of Palos Verdes. Then to starboard was another light. Santa Barbara, Island. Then another at West Head of Catalina just there off the bow. Behind me blinked Anacapa’s light. I wasn’t alone at all. The vast sea of darkness held lights to guide me.


I sat there with my hand on the tiller my forestay on a star and enjoyed the rise and fall of my small tall ship, the hiss and splash of the sea, the slap of the mainsail and jib and knew it didn’t get any better than this. The little craft heeled smartly as she reached for her destination and her skipper and crew were content.


I learned a lot form that little sailboat. I learned among many things that anyone can hoist a sail but it takes a sailor to get one down. I learned he who goes to sea will learn to pray. I learned to prepare for the worst to avoid disaster. And I learned a landsmans life is all his own. He can go or he can stay. But when the sea gets in your blood, when she calls you must obey.


I still remember the wail of the wind in my shroud lines, the surge of a good blow, when she heeled twenty degrees. And I can still hear my darlin’ bride yell, “Level it up damnit!”



~ Weakeyes Cody 2009


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