Like a buoy, one finds peace at sea

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 02:10 PM

There are 176 miles from where I sit to the 41036 sea buoy, out in the lonesome, sometimes desolate and occasionally stoic, western Atlantic.
On my phone, my thumb and index finger navigate me to the application that provides real-time information about this particular buoy. I check the wind — sometimes I frown, a few times I smile and I always wonder. I check the wave height — sometimes I doubt, a few times I anticipate but I always wonder.
It is but a single part of my passion to fish and explore this canvas of blue.
Out here, the water flows from way south and is tinged with Caribbean soul and cobalt in heart and color.
I love it here. It is where my place on this earth feels right, even though I cannot touch the ground.
Oh, fish have been caught from these waters — dolphin, tuna, wahoo, marlin, barracuda, grouper, trigger’s, albacore and amberjack. Yet that is not why I come here.
I am here, between this buoy at sea and the buoy in my life, because I can be who I am. Born in the red clay and familiar with dirt between my nails, my toes and my eyes and my senses yearn for this place.
I know waypoints, courses and channels, and the sun has never will rise from the same place in the same manner.
I am different here. I used to think it was the fish. There is thrill, excitement and adrenaline, and when a reel screams, one might feel it is because of a fish. Perhaps it is the progression of the tide, but I am here because there are no loads I bring to the sea that float and remain.
I am here because the rain is temporary, the clouds drift and the wind at sea sometimes is perfectly therapeutic.
It is here that time slows, days merge and the sight of a flying fish, skimming across the sea, is poetically profound.
I am different here because we all must find the place where our soul is cleansed and burdens are properly rinsed, for I am not immune to the infections of life and my antibodies occasionally are slow.
I have lived with dirty hands and cleansed when I should. On a vessel at sea, with land a dissipating image, I have contributed a tear into this water and found silence amongst an abyss of noise.
There is purpose here. There is reflection here, and there is a time and place where all of my life feels connected. Buoys and channel markers are not just beacons that guide a boat.
We had fished that day, and my hands smelled of fish, bait and the sea. Somewhere out there, burdens, demons and pirates of a man’s life were left to drift and find peril at sea. The rods, reels and fish were cleansed, and I excused myself to cleanse.
Upon the bow and hull of this vessel, the remnants of sea needed to be washed. My bare feet, back and chest — and my bare soul — took to the bow with brush, hose and soap.
There was a rhythm in the air — music, lyrics and a breeze — and for a moment, I, too, was a buoy. I felt free and enchanted.
Though I came here to fish, I came here to be cleansed. As the salt and seawater are hardened by the wind against this vessel, so am I.
To be as I am, it is necessary to journey and accept that the wind may not always blow as I wish. The waves may be steep, and the sun refuses to replicate her awakening every day.
I cleansed the bow, stern, gunnels, lines and the crevices where salt and sea might lead to rust and decay — then I cleansed the boat.
Far inland, my courses through life do not always withstand the turbulence. Frequently, the buoy at sea reports conditions that are not favorable for a sailor. Sometimes, the wind blows, the waves are steep and a boy must be grounded in the red clay.
Yet when there is an opening and the gates to the sea are friendly, I navigate to fish. Burdens sink here. Hooks are baited here. Crevices are cleansed here. Amid infections of life and roots of red clay, I come here to be as I am.
Enjoy your time outdoors.

You may contact Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.