I have lost a c…

I have lost a certain momentum since I returned home from my trip on the freighter. Not a loss because of laziness, or lack of interest-but from being stunned.

I can’t say this is good-or bad. I suppose maybe…awakening? It was very hypnotic, this is for sure, but the lulling way the sea caps call your attention are not just the sole reason I describe my self as being stunned!

People mistake this trip as a cruise! I get introduced to someone with the fact given that I spent three months on the open sea-“on a cruise”…but the reaction I receive has made it a must to exchange what the listener is thinking…ah.Princess Cruise ships; dances and gambling and three huge malls (do they have malls on cruise ships?) and exotic places across the globe.

First of all-I would never find myself on a ship with 3000 other folks-or even 300! A floating island of bars and casino’s, no thanks!

I went on the freighter-actually known as a ‘container ship’ (carrying the enclosed boxes of semi trailers) on my first trip to confront the package of issues that stall my daily life. I did know the crew would be a limited number of crew-I also knew that if any other passengers were aboard, there would only be three more. The entire population of the ship on my second trip was 23, this on a ship loaded with nearly 6000 semi trailer containers; a very large ship.

I had no idea the extent of what would be! I surely had not really thought in total of the size of the ships house-including the hull of the ship from the highest point of the house was at least equal to a 20 story building. I had not really even thought-but as the working day went on, I was totally alone in this huge building. It was fascinatingly interesting-actually satisfying, to be free to roam the entire confines unrestricted and with out fear-it was as if the entire world was turned off, and this vessel was all the world there was to us!…and most of the time I was alone!

I also hoped to pretend myself at age 18 and seeing everything as brand new before it was all x’d up. I wanted to pretend myself on some huge navy ship, but I found better than pretending could do for me!

At home I cut my own hair and I am not any good at it-foggy right eye and not very bright-eyed in the other makes for a poor self barber. Domingo noticed this the night I went down to the crews salon (not a bar lounge-but more like a large living room) to introduce myself. It was his first question of me-“who cuts your hair?” as a matter of fact! So he offers his services as the ship’s barber to fix the apparent and certain mess of my head! We begin talking and he begins to learn I was alone in my life and that I had health issues. We did not elaborate on the health part-but this man became my instant friend!At trips end three months later we were all friends!

My friends were each one of these men! 18 from the Philippine Islands-including the Captain, and 5 Croatian officers. I have to say our friendships built out of respect-my respect for the crew and the ship, and their respect for me because they recognized mine. English is the International language on every ship at sea-but literally, conversations were very short, and sometimes the accent would interfere with understanding everything, but as I say-activity of each mans job made long-term conversation very limited…except, every soul recognizes a good heart, so we all knew.

Here I was able to forget about being me! To be silenced by language barrier for three months was golden. I found it actually difficult to have conversation when I first came home and then had realized I had not had much conversation for all that time! I had wanted to write-it was actually my plan to finish my book, but to be able to spend day after day seeing nothing but the open sky with the water alive all around us. We traveled one and a half months with only three stops-literally over night, and the rest was as I describe. The emptiness of  having no car or no town or no places like shops or stores or telephone or news or computer or everything you are used to doing every moment of your life is exchanged for this void-and along with it was the need to worry. It was the one place in the world that I knew for sure-there was nothing I could do about one dang thing!

I returned home in a trance! Slowly it is breaking away-finally, and yes it has lasted this long, as to be able to say everything about all that those three months showed me and did for me, and what it was like to be vacant from my life for those three months-there is not enough room on the computer screen to say it all.

Stunned? I am. It was like some other world. There was never one inch of any moment of feeling anything other than peace in the company of these men. Every day being greeted with huge smiles and faces who had expressions of happiness when they saw me! Each time I entered the salon was a time of being greeted with great affection-even in their most tired moments the men were always cheerful and polite despite the fatigue of the days, or the shortness of the moment-it did not matter. Think of this-each day the clock advances one hour which really twists the body’s clock around.

I returned home with that old seaman’s stare! I can not explain what it is like out there on the high sea’s-especially when so much time was spent seeing only the water and the sky. I don’t say the ‘stare’ is bad-it is more like being in a long deep thought

This was empowering! I was able to leave me on the docks in Savannah and with me all of the shit! I confronted so many of my fears-and trust me, there was no where to run if anything went wrong. Being silenced by the different languages allowed so much time for meditation, and prayer.

I wish that I go forever.


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