We humans like our routines. It gives us a feeling of comfort – a sense of security in a chaotic world.
When you live on a sailboat, you bend some of those rules but sometimes you can slip into complacency and before you know it you’re spending too much time at the dock falling back into old habits of being busy with meaningless things that just fill up time.
When you sail on an old, heavy sailboat you need time – lots of time. Time to get somewhere at 5 knots an hour.
This weekend we didn’t have a lot of time, but we did have a need to get away from the dock so we did something we haven’t done very often – we went sailing. Sailing for the sake of sailing. Not pushing ourselves or our boat to meet slack tides or to avoid storm systems; we just went sailing.
A little more wind would have been nice, but the experience was effortless. All three sails balanced so that the boat sailed herself without much assistance from us.
Effortless, like when you hit the sweet spot on a tennis racket. The ball moves across the net with grace and a fluidity that belies the whack that you just gave it. And no matter how many times you try to duplicate the swing, it is never quite the same. The joy is in the unexpected gift of accidental perfection. Maybe when you let go of trying so hard and just “be”, magic happens.
This is how sailing was for us. We came back to the dock with smiles on our faces with our shared experience of accidental perfection.