Death, Taxes and The Desire To Go To Sea

I often bridle at the seeming inevitability of things.  Why are “unavoidable” and “unwanted” synonymous?  It puts a negative spin on life.  One seeks some assurance of a life with rising prospects.  The company I work for frequently champions the phrase, “The only thing permanent is change.”  This blatant violation of the rules of logic never fails to ring the bell on my logical fallacy detector.  However, some folks think it looks cool on a tee shirt.  What really seems to me inevitable and, if you will, “permanent” is desire.

In myself the desire to have a boat and go sailing on a regular basis is unquenchable.  I am not alone in this.  The boat shows continue to draw large crowds in this time of economic strife.  History is populated by seagoing promoters of civilization. They explored the “New World” and made Columbus a household name.  Okay, some Jolly tars of yesteryear got a chance to spend some quality time with the girls of Otaheite.  However, that was not a normative example of the mariners life in the eighteenth century.

The sea does not weave it’s spell effectively for all.  There is an old proverb which states that he who would go to sea for pleasure would go to hell for a pastime. Ralph Waldo Emerson* observed, “the wonder is always new that any sane man can be a sailor.”  “Being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned,” was the opinion of Samuel Johnson.

Having just paid my taxes, it was a bad year, I find myself wishing to get on with boat acquisition activities.  With taxes out of the way and death not yet upon me I am left with the permanence of desire.  It’s a burning I can live with, a jail which can be endured.  I’ll take my chances on drowning and keep a weather eye out for just the right small ship to buoy up my attitude.

*Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits -(1856), Chapter II, Voyage to England.

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