The boy came down from the mountains when he was of age. He wanted to see a new place, to meet new people, and to learn. He studied and partied then it was time for him to set off on his new life.
The boy had always wanted to learn to sail. If he could sail, he thought, he could travel around the world. He could have adventures. The more he thought about it, the more the idea appealed to him.
So one day, the boy went down to the water. He watched the boat builders at work. Finally, he summoned his courage and went up to one.
“Would you like an apprentice?” he asked the man. “I would like to learn how to build a sailboat.”
“And what experience do you have?” the sailor asked.
The boy hung his head and slunk away. Experience? He was just a mountain boy. He knew nothing about boats.
One day, his mother came to visit and she found him a place to live and a job with a gardener she knew.
"You can live well here," she told him. "I'll visit you and you can visit me. It will be a comfortable life."
But the boy still dreamed about boats and sailing, and he went often to watch the boat builders. He watched carefully and began to learn how they did things. The sailors began to notice him and would call out when he arrived. One day, a sailor asked if the boy would like to take a short sail on his boat.
Would he! The boy eagerly agreed and spent a fine afternoon on a sailboat ride on the Bay. Soon others offered him a ride. As he took up their offers, he began to learn how to help sail the boat, tying or releasing the sheets to bring the sail about. The men even began to let him hold the rudder.
One day, as the sailors gathered at the bait shop to shoot the breeze at the end of the day, the boy finally gathered up his courage to ask once again if any sailor could use his help.
“Well, I don’t know, boy,” one old sea salt said. “What can you do?”
“Not much,” the boy answered. “But I am willing to try. And I learn quickly.”
“Boys today want to do the fancy work but won’t do the drudge work,” another grumbled.
“No, I’ll do whatever you ask,” he responded.
“Well, boy,” another said. “I need my deck sanded and painted. Do you think you can do that?”
“If you show me how.”
So the boy became an apprentice to the sailor. He proved an able learner and soon advanced from painting to doing repairs. Finally, a sailor asked him to help build a new boat. And he offered to pay him!
After that boat was built, the boy, who was now a young man, decided he was ready to build his own boat. He now had the money to buy the supplies and he knew the other men would give him advice and help. So every day the young man went down to the docks to work on his boat. Soon it began to take shape.
One day, as he was working, the young man noticed a young woman also building a boat. He went over to talk to her. They hit it off and soon they were meeting every day to chat. One day the young man said,
“Look here. We seem to get along. We both want to build a boat and sail around the world. Why don’t you just help me with my boat and we’ll sail together?”
But the young woman said, “No. I like to be with you, but I must set my own course first. I will build my boat and sail, then we will see what happens after that.”
The young man wasn’t sure he liked that idea, but he had to accept it. So he kept working on his own boat. When the two young people took a rest, she would sketch in her notebook. The young man admired her sketches.
“You are very talented,” he said. “I wish I had a talent.”
“I’m sure you do,” she said. “Just wait and see.”
One day, which happened to be the young man’s birthday, the two boats were finished. His new friend suggested they take a little trip to a nearby island. And she gave him a camera for his birthday.
The young couple sailed the young man’s boat to the island. They had a wonderful time. The woman sketched while the man learned to use his camera.
“You take beautiful photos,” she told him. “There is your talent.”
“Yes, I think you’re right,” he said. “Maybe I can photograph my trips when I set sail. I’ll send you the photos so you can share my trip with me.”
“And I’ll send you my sketches,” she said.
When they returned back to shore, they set to work putting the finishing touches on their boats, so that the boats would be seaworthy for a long trip. Then they each bought provisions. Finally, they were ready.
The couple said fond good-by’s to each other. Then each hoisted their sail and set off, she to the East and he to the West. The winds were fair and the air warm. The young man felt eager and confident. He was ready to meet whatever experiences came his way. He knew he would learn from them and become ever more skilled and confident. He would take photos as well and send them to friends and family. But most especially to his beloved. He knew he would encounter her in some ports along the way. And each would be stronger for their individual experiences. He was ready to meet Life!
Success and failure,
Children of chance,
Fathered by luck?
In small part, perhaps!
Talent and work,
Spare and ample,
Are they key?
A questionable nod of assent!
More likely than not,
Chance and luck,
Talent and work
Meld and end
As failure or success!
Achievement of whatever ilk,
Be it modest or impressive,
Is a social badge of honor:
It invigorates and elevates
And bolsters respect and self-esteem,
Due reward for honest effort!
One wills what one wills
Because one is what one is.
So much for Free Will!
JM's Prescriptions for a Successful Trip Through Life:
Persistence is a lever for ever endeavor.
Reality obligates and dream liberates.
Rest is won when labor's done.
Not to try is not to succeed.
Better to try and fail than fail to try.
Confidence is the road to competence.
To test the impossible is to tease the possible.
Captain your own ship.
I do not seek wind in my sails. When it is windy, I keep my feet on the ground.