Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sail Away!

Red sky at night, explorer's delight.
Humans only relatively recently evolved to survive on the dry lands of the Earth. Our distant ancestors, of course, floated, flagellated and swam in the oceans, afterwhich our more recent ancestors adapted and thrived in the varied landscapes above sea level to acquire food, shelter and community, and whatever
else it took to create the next generation of homo sapiens. ( * )

In fact, for the past several thousand years we have demonstrated as interdependent individuals and communities that we are immensely successful at accomplishing the feat of survival, sufficient to find substantial time for pleasure seeking.  Yet, if survival and pleasure were our only quests, what dreary, complacent animals we'd be.

Recently, I was at the helm of a 38 foot sailing craft on the Chesapeake Bay, and for three days I experienced a taste of leaving behind the comfort zone of a reliable dry-land footing.  On the surface of the water for an extended period of time, human survival is near fully reliant on water-faring technology and skills aggregated over many centuries.  Sailing, at its core, is about harnessing elements and leveraging skills that evolution never intended (figuratively speaking) for us to master.  By choosing to push the envelope of experience beyond simple survival and pleasure, we open new path options along our journeys. 

Wind spirits tamed.
In general, our human desires may gravitate our daily tasks toward a stable existence, a life full of the safe acquisition of needs and pleasures.  Reaching out to explore new ideas and experiences is part of what it has become to be human.  Whether we specifically choose to adventure on the oceans or hike an isolated mountain off-trail that challenges our mind and body is superfluous.  Visiting foreign cultures in situ, reading tales of exotic fictional worlds or watching intriguing documentaries may be and individual's selection.  It is simply important that we intentionally engage our curiosity.  By raising mindfully our imagination sails to greet the winds of anticipation we can drive our biological vessels forward with verve toward lands (and oceans) of
individual and shared discovery!

* Note a possible side-path to our land-based hominid evolution: The Aquatic Hypothesis is a conjecture that for an extended period our human ancestors spent a significant amount of time in water. Evidence for this includes reduced hair density (save for on our heads) in conjunction with increased fatty tissue below the neck for better insulation from cold water, Possible reasons behind this aquatic wandering range from predator and fire evasion to marine-life foraging and, more tenuously, body surfing. 

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