I have no idea why I love to sail. The more I ponder this topic, the less and less of an explanation I have to offer. My mind automatically reverts to the poetic clichÃ© that sailing is all about freedom, boundaries balance, struggle, and thrill; about the feeling of being at the tiller, in charge of preserving the harmony between boat, wind and water; but, something deeper within me whispers that these things are not the true source of my love.
It is true that my fondest memories of sailing are the days when my experience has come closest to fitting this idyllic description, yet I love even the days when clichÃ©s are just romantic glamorizations, fabricated to fill the void created by the unexplainable.
To me, sailing is its own separate world, one that exists only in the abstract and falls away with each parting of boat and boot. In the intermediary time between sails, the only remnant, the only partial memory of the magic is a sense that something sensational was experienced during that last sojourn on the water. A mystical force emanates from the other realm lying at the very core of the sport, and touches me, bestowing upon me the love and the drive to return no matter what.
Words cannot be used to describe what is intrinsically the essence of the sport. The best explanation I can provide is that sailing is like falling into a deep, blissful sleep; there is no memory upon waking, only a kind of inexplicable contentment.
So if you want to know why I love to sail, then I want to know why you love to dream.
Mallory Greiman, age 16 of Wellesley, Massachusetts, first published this story on www.kidtravels.com and placed in the 2000 “Why I Love Sailing” writing contest sponsored by Sunsail, Performance Sailcraft, Douglas Gill, Boatscape.com and Interlux.
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