The purpose of this message is to connect a thought to an idea. This is to link a picture to a time in which, I swear, I have never seen a moon quite like this one. We were out in the ocean, approximately 110 nautical miles south of the Jones Beach inlet.
We tied up at a place called The Dip for an overnight tuna trip. The water was deep. There was a little action before we hit the spot and one yellowfin was brought on board. The fish was a decent size, but of course, we were looking for bigger fish.
This is not a fishing story per se but more, this is about a dream. This is about an idea and a picture that I keep close to my heart. This is about a connection, a bond and a promise.
It was a warm midsummer night and the sky was clear. I could see every star in the sky because, keep in mind, the world out here is unmolested by man’s light. Eventually, everyone else on the boat was sleeping. Some crashed inside the cabin. Some slept in chairs in the cockpit. One person slept in the captain’s chair in the flybridge. But me, I was wide awake.
I was caught by the scene of my surroundings. Above me was a full moon and its glowing beams that trickled down to the surface of the sea. The rolling swells were calm, as if each wave that flowed beneath the boat were to rock the cradle and drift us to sleep. It was perfect. Everything about this was perfect. The sky above and the sea below. This was all in unison and regardless of my life on land or the troubles I had, for the moment, all was calm.
I have been on overnight trips before but this was my furthest and most successful. The bite did not begin until first light, which was fine with me. I say this because I was fine to be relaxed with my thoughts. I was fine to be the only one awake. I was fine to hear the sounds of the ocean in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere.
I could think here.
I could remember why and where I came from and for the moment, I was allowed a sense of peace during an otherwise tumultuous time. This was me. This was my way of seeking through prayer and meditation; to improve my conscious contact (or so they say) seeking the knowledge of destiny and looking for the power to carry that out.
I have always had a connection with the sea. There has always been something which I cannot explain nor can I connect to when this began. I suppose I’ve always felt this way about the ocean. I have always felt this connection to the waves; as if each ripple in the ocean contains an anonymous truth (or secret) yet, the ocean never tells. She simply moves and carries on.
This is where I come for my confessions. This is where I go to tell my sins and confess my thoughts with my own mouth. I set this free with the belief that with all my heart, I can find my salvation.
I have found myself on shorelines, alone, and speaking my truths. I come here to tell my thoughts and release my secrets to let go of the untold pains. The waves come in to replenish the sands; and then they go out and take with them the unwanted sediments of our lives. To me, this is my prayer. I am not one for physical cathedrals or buildings. I am not one for actual churches. Instead, I come here.
I need moments like this. In fact, I think we all do. I need a moment between myself and the absolute nothingness of the tides. I need a place like this, my most humble sanctuary, which I consider my higher power. To me, this is my moment of ease.
I have always felt this way about the sea. . .
There was a little tiny boat in the backyard of my home. Picture this, a typical cape-style home in a middle-income town out in the suburbs of Long Island. The little boat had history that stretched back to before I was born. If memory serves, I was only on the boat once or twice when it was in the water. The boat was aluminum and so was the color. There were a few numbers that were decaled on the side of the boar, up by the bow. The boat sat in my backyard for years, which to me; the boat was more like a playground. This was a place where I could pretend.
I was somewhere around the age of three. I would sit in the boat with a twig from the tree in my yard. I held the twig and pretended this was my fishing rod. I would sit quietly for hours, which I suppose was a parents dream.
I did not need any other entertainment. I didn’t need anything else because I had what I wanted. I had my little vessel. I had my imagination and I suppose to me; I was out there, somewhere in the middle of the ocean, pretending to catch fish. That was me.
I don’t remember what happened to the little boat. I was too young to inquire when it was sold. The Old Man used to tell me that I would sit in the boat. I’d sit quietly and either he or my Mother would call out to ask if I was okay.
The Old Man told me that I would ask them not to shout.
“You’ll scare all the fish away,” I told them.
Mom told me that I would dress myself. I’d bundle up in the middle of a New York winter. I’d put on my little mittens and my coat. I’d pull one of the hats that my Grandmother knitted over my head and make sure to cover my ears.
My parents would ask me, “Where are you going?”
I’d tell them, “I’m going fishing.”
Then I would go out to the backyard and sit in the boat, which was in the northeast corner of my yard by the fence beneath a tree. I didn’t need anything else.
Here I am, approaching the 50th year of my life. It has been a while since I was out at sea. It’s been a while since I was on my own boat or anyone else’s boat for that matter. It’s been a while since I was on an overnight trip beneath the moon with the ocean beneath me. I miss this.
I used to see the tides and the swelling waves as the breath of Mother Earth. The boat, regardless of the size, was my cradle and the ocean’s surface was my perfect rock-a-bye.
As for that trip we took to The Dip, the next morning came and by first light, we took to the troll. There was no action overnight or on “the night bite.” But the morning was incredible. We had to leave the fish biting. We filled our coolers with more yellowfin than we had room for. It was amazing.
I’ve made a promise to myself, which is that no matter where I go and no matter how I age, at some point in my life; I will be back out there again. I will be out at sea in the middle of the ocean. I will look up at the moon and feel the waves beneath my ship. I will sit in the wheelhouse of my own vessel and drive myself out into the vastness of nowhere. I will look up and be at home, in my most humble sanctuary, alive more than ever, and at peace.
For the record, I rarely go to cemeteries. Besides, that’s where dead people live. To me, I’d prefer to go to the ocean or stand by the shoreline.
I’d rather see this than the sight of headstones at the foot of someone’s grave. I go to the beach whenever I want to visit with The Old Man.
Or, I grab my fishing rod and hit one of the local ponds. I find a place that’s nice and quiet. I cast my line as if to cast away my doubts or sins. I let the ripples in the water take away my secrets and for the moment; I can find peace, even in tumultuous times.
I agree though. It’s been a while . . .
But don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten you. I know where you are and I know why you’re there.
I know that a piece of us is connected to this dream, which I use as a source of inspiration. I also know that to you, as an inner child, you might worry that I’ve forgotten my promise.
You might think that I grew too impatient.
But no. I have not.
This dream is just as meaningful to me as it is to you.
Now, go and sleep tight.
Tomorrow will bring us one step closer.