THE ROILING SEA
Back in the nineties, when I sailed the Bering Sea aboard a two-hundred-and-fifty-foot expedition ship, I got sea sick during my first few days aboard. I was getting sea sick before the ship even left harbor, or after it entered one. Two weeks into the voyage, half way between Alaska and Russia, a great storm overtook us and the seas grew to fifty feet and higher. The Bering Sea is a relatively shallow body of water so the waves broke and crashed in from almost every direction. The entire load of passengers, and most of the crew, became sea sick. But I did not! I was exhilarated by the storm, and absolutely loved the wild rock and roll kind of action the ship had to go through to navigate its way and survive. Whatever had happened inside me caused me to lose my sickness, not only then, but for the rest of the sailing adventure.
My perspective changed, both mentally and physically. Somehow my body, inner ear and mind synchronized in such a fashion that sickness no longer fit properly into the situation I had come upon. I’ve never been sea, air or carsick again.
This anecdotal description of a rather dramatic reaction to our physical environment cannot go down as a scientific conclusion. I cannot tell anyone this story as fact, and have anyone truly believe it. The universe, as we have come to know it, does not fit with what happened to me. When the storm struck I recall the key response I made was to go topside in order to better take the whole thing in. It was a grand sea shattering storm, and its magnificently free power was such a force of nature, that it could not be denied.
Today’s political environment should be approached in the same way I faced the storm, and maneuvered within the ‘ship’s’ movements accommodating the crashing waves and dangerously heaving interior of the roiling hull. These are not calm easy-going times in and across America, and the metaphor of a storm ravaged sea may not be far off. Part of what happened to me, happened because I recognized the storm for not only being dangerous, as these political times definitely are, but also for the challenging adventure the conditions created, and the kind of response that might ensure survival. I remained unaware of the conversion my body and mind were going through, although I was conscious of the fact that I felt exhilarated by the very fact that I had become functional in a world where most other humans around me were not.
The metaphor of the storm is too easy and too simple to allow for much more extensive conclusion than I have already drawn. The people who support the current president’s base of power don’t get sick at all, because for them there is no storm. There will be no crashing of their ‘ship’ upon some rocky shore. There are no rocks for them, at least not that they can see or hear. There are only large swells of life running under and by them. It is the people who have the intellect and vision to see and feel the threat this president has recreated from the past who are aware of the imminent danger. The president’s base sees no danger in a nuclear war with North Korea, or any other country, but those not wearing blinders, ear plugs and firmly tied into their bunks aboard this ‘ship’ see and know the danger.
Will paralysis continue to hold this country in stasis long enough for the effects of willful insanity to undermine the world’s foundation and cause a toppling that might make Rome’s rapid demise look like a minor social infarct? Will those with the ability to see what is outside the porthole, to note the tossing of the ship because they cannot keep their footing day after day, fall sick enough of the whole thing to simply lay in their bunks and hopefully wait the whole thing out? Or will they take note of all the signs that have become evident, of a ship of state foundering without navigation or real communication too long lost out upon monstrous roiling seas? Will those people, the only ‘crew’ able to react at all, be able to make vital life-saving choices and respond now, when it: “…becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal stations to which the Laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God, entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind which requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The United States of America is going to war. It has been given, or given itself, no choice. That war will be fought with nuclear weapons abroad, and with grand sacrifice at home. Will you be one of those who lays in that bunk, either in ignorance or in sickness, or will you be able to meet the challenge and actually do something? As Thomas Paine stated so eloquently a long time ago: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated”