Our New Mizzen Sail
A drop of salty water falls on my jacket, but it isn't from the sea. I wipe my eyes and adjust our course again. The sails are luffing to and fro, tearing at their fastenings, tearing to be free and reminding me to stay on my heading of 270 degrees. The sails, unlike the teak and the compass, fail to evoke any emotion in me because they lack personality and hold no memories for me. They are plain and ordinary, like any other sails. I wish we had tanbark sails or a gaff schooner rig or maybe even a square rig. The coarse, bleached-white fabric is sterile and artificial. Our mizzen sail is new. There are no creases, folds, or wrinkles to remind us of old storms or learning from mistakes made in the past. It has no stains or dirt picked up from other places about the world or patches and new seams where repairs have been made. I liked our old mizzen sail much more than this new one, but in time it, too, will have personality and characteristics all its own. Let us hope that they'll be good ones.