FlyingFish Out of the corner of my eye I see a bird fly impossibly close to the water.
As I turn to get a better look, the bird sails directly into the oncoming roll of a four-foot wave and disappears. It does not resurface.
I train my eyes back out on the horizon again, as we are supposed to do on lookout. However, a half hour later, I sneak a peek down at the water being peeled apart by the ship’s bow. Silver bodies spurt out of it and fly above the water, perfect suspended arrows. They hang for impossibly long moments before slicing into the swell. Fish that fly from the Exocoetidae family.
The ship is filled with incongruous moments like the flying fish. We are surrounded by water, yet we are covered in dirt no matter how religiously we clean the ship. We are hundreds of miles from land yet we eat better and more than most of us have eaten in our lives (thanks to stewards Jackie and Paul)! We know everyone’s sleeping patterns and weird quirks, but we don’t know people’s last names. We are sweltering in the tropical sun, but we can’t swim.
Like the fish, we are also adapting to new environments – the world above the sea. When we get off watch, we sleep. When we finish with our meal (if we aren’t going on to night watch), we sleep. On our off day (Delta Dog), you guessed it - we sleep. When we wake, stumbling to watch, pieces of titrated information slowly rise to our consciousness. We notice the luff in the sail and the lurch in the boat. We wonder if these could be corrected.
We plot where we are on the chart and how far we have come. We think and we act to fill our own wide white wings.
I wonder if the flying fish fly because what they know beneath the water is scarier than the unknown above it. I wonder if they keep flying, as birds circle overhead, because it’s fun.
You see alternative worlds as a fish out of water.
To my family: give Treader and Bree hugs from me and check spam 😉 I hope everyone is enjoying fall foliage.
- Espy Thomson, C Watch, Deckhand