I’ve Never Felt the Deck Fall Away from Beneath Me

I’m in Albuquerque, New Mexico this week at the Center for Action and Contemplation focusing on going deeper with the tradition of Centering Prayer and Contemplation.  So, in light of the fact that I’m away, I thought I’d share something different.  Here’s a poem which I hope yields some inspiration.

I’ve Never Felt the Deck Fall Away from Beneath Me
Drexel Rayford
From Bergsteiger. V.20, pp.51-53, 2016.

The author standing at the wheel of a Chesapeake sloop.

I’ve never felt the deck fall away from beneath me
as I make my way forward
to the fo’c’s’le
the bow plunging into the next crest
even as the keel splits the trough
and an assault of salt spray
drives icy pins into my skin. . .

Never actually felt that.

But once, I sat at the helm of a Chesapeake sloop,
or rather, crouched on the transom
and felt the pressure of the
keel cutting the reach
and the benevolent push of wind against the sail
as sheets and lines did their dance.

I would go there again
and will.
Moving with the wind, marshaling, matching, mating
as the push and pull of nature
yield direction and distance.
The slap of water against the hull
The glinting diamonds winking on the water
reflecting sunlight in a million flickers
chasing clouds across the blue of sky
with a whip of cloud tethered to this vessel
by running rigging
across the blue of sea.

I know a metaphor appears in biblical lit
about the Faithless Character driven by wind.
And yet, the same written record holds the
Mystery of wind like the Mystery of Spirit.
It’ll take you on a magnificent voyage
if you just adjust your sails,
hold the wheel,
and aim the bow into the reach.

Trust the invisible power that can deliver you home.

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