Magic Carpet

by | Feb 3, 2017 | Venus & Mars Go Sailing | 9 comments

Kagán is a bluewater cruiser, a stout and seaworthy sailboat. If we, her crew, are prepared and courageous enough, she can take us around the world. The sailing instructor who gave me the know-how and instilled me with the confidence to singlehand Kagán when I took the helm as skipper, spoke about boats like Kagán as magic carpets. And she ought to know, she sailed hers around the world twice!

Deb fixing anchor light

Deb fixing the anchor light

The lure of that magic has sailed through my mind and heart for years. Not that I’ve romanticized what full-time sailing would be like, though it is tempting to do so I’ve fixed too many leaky hoses, changed too many joker valves (part of the head assembly, yuck), spent too many hours waxing and polishing, and changed the bulb in the anchor light (which happens to be at the top of the mast) too many times to do that. But the self-sufficiency an ocean crossing would require, the courage it would demand, and the awe it would inspire intrigues me. Just imagine standing watch on a clear night when the moon is new and no light pollution from horizon to horizon – only the stars in the sky and the bioluminescence in your wake. Sailors often use terms that invoke flights of fancy – we fly spinnakers in light airs and we sail wing-on-wing on downwind runs.

wing on wing in stuart channel

Kagán sailing wing-on-wing south of Dodd Narrows

But these days, the flight of fancy that crosses my mind most is steering a heading toward a destination that hasn’t lost its moral compass, and concerning myself with trade winds not trade wars. Casting off the dock lines for a faraway port would leave me too busy to follow the news on a minute-by-minute basis, even if technology could keep me connected. Instead I’d be setting sails and standing watches and fixing what breaks (because Kagán, as stout as she is, is a complex piece of equipment afloat in a corrosive medium whose motion is ceaseless and powerful).

sailing tile

But here on land, there are values and people and landscapes I hold dear. So my decision, at least for now, is to stay grounded and try to fix what feels broken here, knowing there’s a magic carpet I can climb onto and sail away someday if I choose.


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  1. Betty

    Love this post! Sailing definitely sounds enticing (but not the work involved, for me at least) I would love to get away from (quoting you), “the news on a minute by minute basis”. But I agree, too many people around that we hold dear.

  2. Terry Groves

    Deb, your choice of words and their ebb and flow have me on the water, free of the bonds of land, and dreaming of drifting on the swells of unending seas. Please keep them coming.

  3. Kathryn MILLER

    I loved this post. Brings me to the power of choice and how through our choices we keep moving us forward. There certainly is courage in single-handing your boat and there is also courage in staying in this mess. Thanks for your thoughtful words. Kate

  4. Garry Maurath

    Yes, a wise course of action.
    On a selfish note it gives us all a warm feeling to know that we will be able to enjoy your wisdom on a more frequent basis.

  5. erik shumate

    Keep yer “magic carpet” fueled up and make sure seatbelts are installed.
    We’re in for a ride.

  6. Andie Ptak

    Love this. I think we’d all like to sail, fly, or run away right now, but know that we have a moral obligation to stay and try to fix things. It’s nice to know you have an escape route ready if/when needed though!

  7. Patrick

    A dilemma shared is a dilemma halved? Perhaps. I do find myself building reasons to stay at the same time I’m building will and capacity to go. Good to hear others feeling many of the same things. Comfort flying requires confidence with the wings. Thank you!

  8. Jenn Bauer

    Thank you for a thought provoking post. Your comment about wanting to fix things reminded me of a “companion” orientation I went to at a church in Asheville that focuses on providing ministry and fellowship those who are broken, be it from substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, or any other circumstance that led theme to their current situation. The orientation coordinator said that we as companions (not “volunteers”) are not there to “fix things” but are there just “to be” with each other. Just to share space and to listen. Reflecting on this, perhaps this is what we all need right now to “fix” things, just to be open to listening to each other and recognizing that we all have struggles and have parts that are broken, but that together we can get through them. That’s my hope anyway.

  9. Carolyn Kinsman

    What a lovely post, my friend. It speaks to much of what we face these days, making choices, maintaining perspective. I want to do my part (as is always the case, but now perhaps more than ever), and I know I must take care of myself — the most important tool I have! I so love that you are sharing this with us all.


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