The waters edge was more lenient. He remembered watching on from the banks as long shadows cast nets against the early sun. Barely was the light free from its hiding had the men liberated their vessels from the shores and taken to the open water. He remembers hearing the merriment dancing up to the shore, carried so easily by a dawn yet to be sullied by the scurry of life. He witnessed from sturdy ground how these men worked through the days, only to row home well after the suns song was sang. He never would have imagined stepping into that painting, he was learning the fine details of each brush stroke that gave the pantomime of the morning maritime men an unknown appeal.
The old men teased his footing. A new comer to the fleet his feet stumbled atop the deck. Aged timber, coated with traces of the sea fighting its way on board. Buoyed over the thrashing waves, the torrents imposed their will. Holding on to mast, to stern, to hope, he had prayed for peace. He had pierced that film of fading color that kept him safe from the vivid shades of effort on board those sailed islands.
As another mess of tangled mesh was hoisted on board, the smiles around his frown confused his patience. How can their songs remain strong despite the empty crates? They had no quarry to proudly claim as the fruits of their labor. The deities in their music were the subject of ridicule on the shores where learned men took stock of reason, where was the reason and rationale to cheer and sing void of victory. Each barren haul was a dagger to his zeal. Taking stock of wasted efforts, he failed to match the tempo of seedless gusto, surrounded by madmen, he questioned his own sanity. The ships berth was the death of a ruse well laid by a rose glow of his once pleasant mornings view.
The water danced them through the after noon as reel after reel of line was sent to the depth and summed back on board for inspection. The songs were unseen silk that bound the fleet into one. A brotherhood of men who wore smiles to taunt the mighty sea, the music sustained the length of the voyage and each bout of “Children of the Sea” was a subtle nod to each man braving the courtship of the currents. It could have been the sun, or the rhythm of the tide, but he felt an urge to sink into the cadence of lunacy. He found himself thinking less and feeling more, he forgot the cold gaze that quantified each second and just faced into the formless face of the day that names itself differently with each passing wind. Those men had grown old at the helm of these fleets, they have seen the sea and their bodies spoke the hidden language of the wash.
A sudden jolt incited a frenzy, the vessel swayed as though sea was calling it in. There was panic and hurried action as every able body man took his place by the netting and fought against the sea. All the young man could do was follow suit. Driven by panic, he heaved and pulled, picturing the fleet falling victim to the depth, fueled by fear. His mind was wild with worry, maybe the sea was calling for the men to make true their claims of bravery, maybe their merriment insulted their phantom deity. Spatters of panic settled into a joint effort, the men succeeded in liberating the nets from the water and with it a school of fish danced their bodies atop the deck. Aged timber, coated with the bounty of the sea, they had a claimed a victory.
The old men had learned the hidden language of the sea, they listened with ears that have spent years conversing with the tides, decoding the power of the deity’s gifts. There is a patience that only the voyage can teach, he was beginning to learn that. The young man carried the song in his heart, at the ships birth his heart echoed with another bout of “Children of the Sea”, born into a brotherhood that endures the tides of life.