I don't know if you've ever noticed it yourself, but a funny thing happens to me when I walk down the dock towards a boat. No matter what kind of day I've had, or what my mood—when I get closer to a boat, a change comes over me.
My walk is straighter, more erect, my senses become crisper, more focused, and my overall attitude becomes that of a trawlerman, a captain serious and committed about all things onboard.
This may sound odd, even a boat strange, but it happens to me every time. I've been thinking a lot about it lately, so I asked some friends if they ever noticed this mood swing in themselves. After we talked around the subject a few moments, they too admitted having similar feelings. I think I may have the answer…
The world we live in has become a very complex place filled with opposing forces in all aspects of life. As the years go by, things don't get easier, they get more difficult, more extremem.
Notice the daily news, how sick and defeated our world has become. Values have eroded to the point where the bad guys have more rights than the good guys, political agendas take precedence over simple truth and what is fair and just. The world is upside down, and many of us feel powerless to stop this seeming downward spiral. What have we done to each other, our wonderful planet, and ourselves?
Aboard a boat, things are clearer and easily understood. Our actions have immediate consequences, and there is real satisfaction knowing that we are accountable for our boat and crew. We see first-hand the harm or benefit from our presence in the water world. We don't think about where to file the next frivolous lawsuit, about having to deal with mediocre companies that can't get out of their own way, or those controlling agencies that march to the beat of a tune no one knows or understands.
There is a simplicity to the quality of life afloat, and I, for one, embrace all this represents. If only more of the world could experience the joys of competence, oneness, and the self reliance of the average trawlerman and woman. The world would surely be a better place.
Next time you see evidence of a system gone wrong, think how these people would behave onboard your boat. Would that federal judge be able to handle your springline? Rather than his or her ever knowing whether a politically-correct ruling would hurt society as a whole, he or she would see the springline either do its job, or not. No moral dilemma there!
Perhaps our trawler lifestyle can be a model for society at large. Instead of running the world for special interest groups with their diluting policies and regulations, and who often demand more than they contribute, we could show the world how satisfying it is to run a vessel for the good of the boat and the entire crew. One purpose, one goal…one voyage at a time.
Strength, beauty, competence, discipline, happiness, accountability, loyalty, maybe even a little honor. These are the things I find in the trawler experience. How about you?
Maybe next time I get off the boat, I'll keep this is mind, instead of falling back into the mindset of sit-back 'cause the world is messed up and I can't do anything about it.
The world is unquestionably a complicated affair, but we should not neglect or ignore or role in it. As keepers of the light of the trawler lifestyle, we can make a difference in a world of indifference, mediocrity, and poor judgement. We have already experienced living where the interests of the boat and entire crew come first—we look out for each other. Can't this also fit out view of the world?
Consider a trawler as a worthy metaphor for Mother Earth—the values easily fit both. Instead of ignoring things that are broken or offensive, remember that you are still onboard and can do something to change the situation.
Think about it. If you arrived in port after a lengthy passage, and for the same mindlessly uninvolved reaction from the harbormaster that you've come to expect from service attendants, customer service reps, and just about everyone else on the other end of an 800 number, what would you do? As captain, man or woman, you would absolutely take charge of the situation and do whatever necessary for the safety needs of the vessel and crew. And I suspect you would feel good about it.
So, next time you step off your boat, don't switch moods—hold that erect position farther down the dock…on your way back to the wonders and complexity of Mother Earth. You know, we can make a difference.
Go get 'em!