Tuesday, June 03, 2008

To Soar the Seas

On Deck - Painting by Charles Sims

She was a bright, cheerful child, wise beyond her years. Intelligence shined a light in her eyes and added a smile, all mellowed by adult perceptions, this in a girl twelve years old. She stood on deck that afternoon, her hand grasping the rail as the ship rocked and she studied me.

"You're old," she said, a tiny pout accentuating the remark.

"Well, in a manner of speaking, I suppose--compared to you, at least."

"I'm older than my brother. He's four." She paused again, her eyes traveling across my face to rest on my gray, shaggy beard. "You've got gray hair," she observed.


"Aren't you too old to be captain of this ship?"

"Of course not! Ships' captains are always gray, and wise I might add, from our years of experience on the sea."

"What do you mean?" She moved closer, curiosity filling those remarkable eyes.

"Well, we stand on deck and study the stars while all is dark and quiet. We breathe in the aura and magic of the sea, listening to the waves splash against the sides of the boat. The sea can't help but tell us its secrets."

"What secrets?"

"Well, if I told you, they wouldn't be secrets, now would they?"

"If I listen, will the sea tell me?"

Before I could answer, her mother appeared on deck rushing to her daughter while wringing her hands.

"Becky, what are you doing up here?"

She grabbed the girl and pulled her away. "So sorry, Captain! I hope she wasn't a bother!"

"I don't want to go!" the girl whined.

"Young ladies don't belong up on deck in the middle of the night." The woman shot me an awkward smile and proceeded to drag her girl away. Becky gave me a sad look. She had no choice but to leave the sea and its secrets behind and go below.

"Landlubbers," I murmured, turning and leaning against the rail. "They have no idea of the magic." As I spied a shooting star soaring across the inky black sky, I grasped a premonition of that girl decades from now, captaining her own ship, her hair as gray as mine, but her soul even more inspired...in a time when women were, indeed, finally free...to captain their destinies and soar the seas.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski


  1. good pen on this one JO--enjoyed it

  2. A worthy journey, at that...

    PS-- Thanks to your Pens and their insistance upon playing not one but *two* hockey games last night, I have my eyelids propped open with toothpicks this morning. Thanks a lot, Jo... thanks a lot. If those kids don't win it all now, I'm going to be really pissed.

  3. Scot, thank you!

    Bob, I was really worried if we'd have any players left what with all the blood shed and injury. At least this time there were fewer broken hockey sticks. But jeez, players were slamming into people and things like billiard balls.

  4. You are some story teller Jo. Very much enjoyed! :)

  5. very nice. slam. brilliant progression and thematic conclusion.