Saturday, November 21, 2009

Post nubila Phoebus

The above phrase has entered my life through the book The Nelson Touch: The Life and Legend of Horatio Nelson. Nelson's translation is, "After clouds come sunshine." Another translation that I have found online, one which I prefer, is, "After clouds, the sun." Nelson sent the phrase in a letter to his wife after he was awarded a ship from the Admiralty.

I have found myself clinging to this phrase recently, saying it out loud randomly and telling others about it. To me, it is in contrast with Carpe Diem, which means seize the day. Post nubila Phoebus expresses more patience; tough out the hard times, and the sun will eventually come.

Without question, the clouds are my schoolwork, and the post-graduation decisions about travel and work. With only two and a half weeks of instruction left, my assignments seem disproportional to the remaining time.

Interpersonal Communication requires 9 more critical reflection essays (luckily they are short) based of 9 required readings, a research paper and presentation due this upcoming Monday, and the final exam.

Interviewing requires just as many readings, a 30 minute interview, a 10 page research paper, a quiz, a resume, cover letter, references, a portfolio, and a final exam interview.

Public Relations and Society requires a 20 minute class presentation and 2 more quizzes. Luckily, no final.

I also have agreed to give a presentation to a local school about Sound Experience and the Adventuress on Monday after school. Along with ship-related things, we will be putting holiday lights on the ship this Sunday, and will be having a very cool Historic Ships Holiday Open House next weekend, which I am a volunteer for as well.

The above have been things pertaining to the here and now, but many questions have recently developed about what I am going to do in the future. Hannah, my darling girlfriend, has been accepted to Yosemite Institute and will be going there in January. I have already agreed to work on the Adventuress for the first 2 months of her winter mainenance. So the question was, "do I stay and see the project through, or do I go and support Hannah with her new job?"

The answer should have been easy, but I have been selfishly holding onto the hope that I would get to see the entire ship-project from start to finish. Or perhaps is was fear of the uncertainty surrounding a move to the Golden State. It does not matter. Last night revealed some deep emotions, and the answer was made clear: I'm going to California.

So a new burden is weighing on my mind. Where will I stay? What will I do? I could apply for Trail Crew at Yosemite, which would be an amazing opportunity, but the application is due Monday. Yet another thing for me to do in so little a time. What about some boats in the Bay area? In this economy, I believe every Tall-Ship is hurting and I doubt very much my services would be utilized.

Post nubila Phoebus. There is sun behind all this, and surely my efforts will dissipate the clouds. I predict a ray or two around Thanksgiving, and a full summer by December 16.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Impressions from a Tall-Ship

A thunder clap shook me from sleep. It must have been directly above this ship for the noise was tremendous. It got me thinking, "What do we do in case of a lightening strike?" That is a question I intend to get answered soon.

Last night, as I was drifting in and out of sleep, the rain was drizzling in waves over the deck. It would start on starboard and race to port, then ease for a moment before doing it again. Then there came a resonant tap from the overhead, followed by many of its friends. The hail had come to beat furiously at the deck, looking for ways to enter. But there were none; our ship was closed up tight.

Around 09:00 I went to meet Sāādūūts who is the Center for Wooden Boat's canoe carver. Sāādūūts is Haida, a first-nations people that reside north of Vancouver Island, Canada. Their art is one of the most famous forms of Native American art. That morning, I got to know him better. He also told me how he hopes to enhance his canoe and take it to Neah Bay; how his tribe used to use fish oil and pitch to preserve their canoes; and how if you ask the spirits for something, they will make it happen.

After that encounter with Sāādūūts, a rainbow appeared over the Adventuress.

Two mornings ago I awoke to the sound of claws. For the most part, little birds are not interested in our deck and stay up in the rigging. Their tiny feet make the cutest, albeit unobtrusive sounds so it couldn't have been them. No, these claws must have belonged to a monster of a bird. A goose perhaps? More likely a seagull. It stomped over my cabin and tip-tatted with its claws until I was forced into awareness. Something always rouses me before my alarm here on the ship.

That very same morning, as I climbed the main companionway hatch, the most delightful chirping struck my ears. As I looked up I was astonished to see at least 500 birds gracing our spreader stays and cross trees. "Chirp, chirp, chirp" they cried merrily to me and I hollered back, "what about your poo on our deck!?" They took no notice of me or my complaints, and I must confess they made me smile.

There was a day when I hadn't any obligations until the mid afternoon, and was able to enjoy the deckhouse in the morning. I cracked the window to let the fresh breeze sweep through. Coffee was within arm's reach, the sun blanketed my back, and I was on a historic wooden ship. Three years ago I would never have even dreamed of such a situation, now it's my life for the next month and a half.

The very first morning of my security duty, I emerged to find a brilliant sky. The square hatch at the top of the companionway ladder framed it like a picture. The deep blue was sliced by cirrus aviaticus; clouds formed by airplanes. Cumulous clouds, those puffy white ones whose name means "heap," splotched the spherical expanse.

The weather has been changing a lot. Today I've seen rain, sun, rain again, and now, sun again. When I need to surface from below, I pop the collar on my P-coat and put my head into the wind. It's refreshing and I haven't yet resented it.

AH! Even now, the droplets that are clinging to the upper edge of the windows in the deckhouse are shimmering like light prisms! The sun is being refracted through them and they're glittering like distant stars: yellow green red blue white and everything between. It's hypnotizing. Their flashes make me think of Morse code. Perhaps the sun is communicating.