My first time:
A misleading title, I admit. But I couldn’t find better words to sum up the story I feel compelled to tell.
It is not a common anecdote, so I am anxious to spread what happened to me, as a simple journey has profoundly transformed me.
About a handful of months ago, I found myself stuck in a huge, ambitious, scary project at first glance: crossing the Atlantic, challenging infinity. Then, quietly, go back.
It seemed to me that I was miserably shrunken. Alone attached to a dock by means of some crumbled tops, wet in the stinking water and under an unbearable autumn rain. The ocean was a mirage, “impossible”, I told myself. My gloomy mood contrasted with the electric atmosphere of the crew, more and more frenetic and heightened as the departure approached.
I was always busy: they disassembled and reassembled, they screwed gears, they polished every surface – they chatted and I, alone, more and more insignificant. They were refurbishing me, but I felt desolately old. I still struggle today to understand the reasons: how can a boat with a high-sounding name, elegant, robust, famous appearance like me be intimidated in front of the ocean? Me, designed to face it, afraid? Used to navigation, to fatigue, to the most unpredictable conditions, terrified? They, however, the sailors showed no trace of anxiety. Paolo, the captain, directed the preparation. With firm decision he distributed the assignments and studied routes, meteorology, galley, documents. “As if the ocean were predictable,” I grumbled.
I was so dark that my mood even affected my physical prowess: I forced the whole crew, due to my selfish anxiety, to postpone the departure due to a small breakdown. This event should have prompted me to reflect, to try to recover from the sea of ashes in which I had sunk and to keep up with my name, my role, avoiding disappointing the captain again. Instead, as soon as I plunged into the ocean, the clouds that had been hovering tremendously in my mind for months turned into a real, horrible storm. I could see the looks in the crew’s eyes: flashes of audacity and adrenaline mixed with shock, but never anyone who was discouraged despite the vicissitudes of a departure that should have taken place calmly. It is thanks to them, Paolo, Fabio,Marco and Cecilia, in fact, if I have managed to regain strength, to experience the ancient serenity of sailing as soon as in harmony with the elements, immersed in the heart of the earth – lost, but in the right place.
Celebrating the therapeutic properties of nature will probably seem predictable, but the power of the impact received was so overwhelming that it bypassed any banality.
For the first time, time has really lost all value. At last there was no longer any boring, unoriginal, obvious everyday life. Life, for the first time, protagonist.
It is difficult to describe such a feeling of freedom, a particular serenity spread like a balm in every corner. In a nutshell, navigation has taken everything, it has imposed itself as a way of life, it poked us in the painful points and forced us to reflect – newbies, we thought we knew the sea. The ocean cannot be predicted, and I was right about that.
We went slowly, accompanied by the wind, embraced by the water – nothing else. The elements marked the rhythm of the days, and in total harmony we followed the movement of the waves, without any superfluous worry. A perfect orchestra, a sinuous music. It was impossible not to get carried away, and unimaginable how dazed we would feel once the show was over. Still with the last notes in our ears – hypnotized, we landed on the other side of the ocean. Despite the practical chores – the breakdowns, the unstitched sails, the always overflowing washing machine and the empty refrigerator – each of us craved the tranquility of the Atlantic. After learning silence, forgetting haste and living under the banner of words and thoughts,getting back to trilling cell phones and sweaty mechanics was more complex than expected.
And perhaps, upon reflection, I have not yet been able to heal from the blow. It is as if I had visited heaven, but then in the middle of the visit I woke up with a start. The only difference is that I know the address, and – as long as my wishes are in tune with those of the captain – I can return to it shortly.
And I can calmly say with certainty that it will happen: the first technicians and electricians are already knocking, and I notice that Paolo’s eyes sparkle slyly when they ask what the next destination will be …
(taken from the book ” ATLANTICO. ANDATA E RITORNO ” by Paolo Casoni).