Sarah Pescosolido writes to her dad about sailing, but it’s a lovely lyrical reflection on life itself.
I learned a lot sailing with you when I was growing up. You liked to race in small boats, and by default I was your crew. You were at times criticized by other sailors—especially other parents—for choosing to continue to sail through difficult weather, even when many of the other sailors would take their sails down and wait for the storms to pass or for a rescue boat to tow them in. Even through a hurricane, you kept one sail up, and we were able to sail through it, struggling a bit but completely unharmed. Most of the other boats got damaged by that storm.
I’ll always remember you telling me, “If you take your sails down during bad weather, you’re at the mercy of the waves. If you leave at least one sail up, you can keep going and at least maintain control over your direction.”
We sailed through more than a few storms together. Sometimes the boat capsized – in strong winds there was always the fear of capsizing; when it was happening it was scary—especially if there was a collision with another boat—or boats. It was fast, windy, loud, wet, chaotic, and out of control. But then…it was just wet. And a little cold and chaotic, but we forgot about that soon enough, and I was always less anxious and more light-hearted after we righted our boat. I like to think you were proud of me for hanging in there and not panicking.
Life is full of bad weather, sometimes even hurricanes. How we handle it is up to us.
Dad, you’ve taught me to be passionate about living life, in all its scariness. Love. Loyalty. Anger. Thrill. Adrenaline. Lust. Pain. Strength. Tenderness. Through it all, one thing will never change – I’ll always be your daughter.
Thank you for showing me how to rise above.
Photo by visulogik / flickr