Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The value of a bad day

Without darkness, we would not seek light.

 Without sadness, joy would fade to the commonplace.

And after all, why is the high season for Hawaii Dec-Feb?  It is just as wonderfully warm and pleasant there in July, and there are many more flowers in bloom.  Without winter, spring has little value.

The answer is written in the human condition:  we are so adaptable that continuous exposure, even to paradise, soon turns paradise into the norm.  We have internalized it.  We are no longer emotionally stimulated by it.  Paradise, yes.  But boring.

To enjoy a day under sail to its fullest, you should have first spent several days at the dock.

The twentieth day under sail on the trip from Baja to Nuka Hiva is no longer joy, it is drudgery - something to be endured, to be gotten past.  But presuming equal weather and sea conditions, it is the same as the first day out of Baja...  except that the infinite adaptability of the human has internalized all of the good stuff.  Leveled it.  Squelched it.

Ah, but if on days 18 and 19 you have had to make your way thru squalls and big swell all day and all nite, well then day 20 will once again bring a fresh outlook, and joy!

To fully appreciate the joys of cruising, of sailing, of living under sail, you must also have experienced bad days: storms, cold rain, windless calms.  This isn't some kind of weird Calvinism, it is a simple consequence of human adaptability.

Now, this is not to encourage you to go out and purposely find disagreeable conditions.  But when you do encounter them (and you will...),  you should experience them, live them.   And look forward to the blue skies and the 15 kt wind on the beam which will surely follow in days to come.  And because of having lived thru the disagreeable, the skies will be all the bluer, and the bow will slice thru the waves all the more cleanly, gracefully.

In a recent post comment, Petr and Jana referred (thanks guys!) to an article that got me thinking about this;  it does a much better job of describing this human truth than I have.  I encourage you to read it.

And store it away for the next rainy day at anchor.


1 comment:

Deb said...

I'm pretty sure that cruising is going to be wonderful then since we've had our share of bad days getting ready!

Thanks for the thoughts. Lots to dwell on over the winter.

S/V Kintala

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