If one is making progress toward a given goal, no matter how slowly, self-affirmation is due in abundance. If one has a goal but is making no progress toward it, both the aim and the reasons for lack of progress are to be called into question. If one has no goals, yet lives with discontent, the reason, however elusive, is ultimately self. If one has no goals and lives in bliss, then all steps of the ladder of life lay behind them.
Tacking hard back and forth across the teeth of the wind. Spray filling my eyes as the bow plunges into wave after indifferent wave. The imprint of rope on my clenched fingers may by now be permanent. The going is slow and my destination still so far off that I’ve almost forgotten its original allure. All I know is that the safe harbor I’ve been seeking seems to lie at the birthplace of the relentless headwind. “Perhaps it is time to choose a new course,” I think as another wash of spray wipes my brow. “Perhaps.”
The stories any of us can recall about sailing downwind are few for their lack of incident, even scarcer if one has never actually sailed, but let’s say its national metaphor day and roll with it. For most of us, our many days are marked in turn by periods of smooth runnings, threatening waters, and periods of the listless, anxiety-provoking doldrums. Each it seems has their time and place on the nautical map of our journey, and I imagine a reason they’ve found us, or we’ve found them. Few milestones rise up in monolithic fashion while we are enjoying the momentary gift of easy passage through this life. It may be that the cursed wind, or lack of it, thwarting our efforts at any given moment is also the very gift that aids us in the writing of a story finally worth telling.