Here is the continuation of yesterday’s story. Fair Winds–H
It turns out I planned a route that moved against the energy of the planet and it made me sick. It is not enough when navigating to consider the strength of the wind and sea. I must also judge the direction of my travel, the wisdom of my intentions in relation to the whole. If I am moving in concert with nature—with the air and sea currents at my back—they can blow more than twenty-seven knots and kick up seas greater than thirteen feet before I feel uncomfortable. But if the boat points into the wind and I move against the flow energy, the air stream should be less than six knots and the waves less than a foot if I am to stay feeling good.
There is a life lesson here. When I am moving in harmony with the natural order of things, thinking and acting with the flow of the surrounding ecosystem, I can move very fast and with great ease. But, I can only push successfully against the power of the universe when the resistance is low and by exercising caution.
What is true in my experience is true for society at large. Scientists tell us we are on the edge of global destruction and great suffering, but this horrific fact is hard to grasp because we have lost track of the energy of the earth in our daily lives. Global markets cut us off from feedback loops that occur naturally in ecosystems, information that was readily apparent to our ancestors. For example, grocery store supplies seem immune to local droughts. Cod appears in abundance on restaurant menus despite its diminished population. The need to carpool appears questionable when fuel is plentiful and smooth roads are fun to drive. Society, when we are distant from the feedback loops of damaged ecological systems, sails headlong against the workings of the planet.
When we find ourselves moving against the energy of the earth, we can make different choices in response. In sailing, I can adjust the canvas and change course, tacking my way to my destination. I can choose in the moment to go to a completely different place. Or, I can turn back and figure out how to travel safely on another day. But I cannot expect forces much larger than myself to change on my behalf. It is up to me to think and act in concert with the natural world.
Nature is a tough teacher ready to expose ignorance or folly. She will make me seasick as many times as necessary to prove her point. Exposed to her workings, I try to hold my human-centric intentions lightly; tune into feedback from my sails; and adjust my actions. Sailing to Elizabeth Harbor makes plain the fact that comfort in the wilderness sits squarely in my hands.