Making Little Homes

March 3, 2020

Norah Storniolo, Harvard



Ship's Log

Present Location
16 degrees, 01’ N x 061 degrees, 48’ W

Ship’s Heading, Speed and Sail Plan
Out into the great blue Caribbean seas!

Sunny, clear skies

Souls on Board

All blogs from C-290

Hello Friends and Family!

I am writing to you from my small home of a bunk, on the port side of the main salon. Perhaps 3 by 6 feet, each person's bunk is the one space on the ship that is wholly theirs: our possessions line the small shelves, our laundry bundled in an oft-ignored corner, our small fans angled with precision towards our sleeping bodies. Each person's bunk≈despite its funky smells, stuffy (yet charming?) ambience, and general tightness≈provides a space of reprieve from the bustle and energy of a ship constantly in motion. It is the place you fall into after a long watch, and the first scene you witness when you wake from your minimal (yet critical!) hours of sleep. As a lover of home-spaces and made-spaces and spaces that make you feel at peace, it was the first space on this boat with which I resonated deeply.

As the weeks have passed, I continue to find new nooks and crannies that call to me. There's the elephant-top, where you can wriggle your body into the folds of an unused sail and stare out at the passing ocean. Ten feet off the deck and shaded from view, one can almost image the sea stretching out from beneath yourself and nothing at all below; the occasional yell from the quarterdeck or feet passing underneath, however, quickly bring you back to a ship constantly in action. But from up there, without the bustle of the deck all around you, the ocean's movements roll through you, the horizon sings of vastness, and the world seems to stretch out with delirious grace.

There's the section of deck just aft of the bowsprit: a little nook at the tip of the boat perfect for spreading out on a sunny day. Lying in the shade of a sail, the rigging above you becomes a beautiful maze of movement. Each line connected to an integral piece of canvas, you can watch the wind dance through the lines and the sails dance through the wind. From this little piece of deck, you can stare up at a whole world of motion that can be boiled down to one being: a ship. Your ship. It is a place perfect for falling in awe with the very shape of your new home.

And then there are the moments that you carve out home-space exactly where you are, the spaces that are not permanent spaces but are instead transient and brilliant and recognizable as yours. Nights on the quarterdeck where first one, then two, then four instruments burst into song, the notes floating around the heads of a ship enthralled. Your small, quiet form becomes still in the sound, the space around you carved into one of perfect peace. Or the home-space that is made in the middle of a dawn watch, when you are posted at the fore of the ship as lookout and are made suddenly aware of a new kind of quiet: the quiet of a million stars drenching the sky around you with a glow so bright you are called to pause. Despite the cold of the night, there is a warmth in suddenly finding yourself at the center of a jumbled fabric of motion and light, your body carving out a new, quiet space the shape of your silhouette. The darkness of your singular form becomes an inkblot against a horizon of midnight light. It is a muddled, magical moment to be surround by beauty, so held by the night.

These spaces≈from bunk, to bowsprit, to moments of calm≈all carry with them a sense of peace, and a sense of ownership. They are not spaces that are ready-made, but instead must be sought out and cherished and made dear. For me, this is one of the most beautiful things about life on the Corwith Cramer. Every season, a new group of being enters this space, and every season they find new ways of making it their home. It is a space forever being remade in the eyes of those who live on it. Tonight, this little bunk rocks my peaceful body to sleep; this time next year it will be someone else. This image is beautiful to me: how one home can hold so many different homes, how spaces can be made intimate for those who love them, how one bunk can house so many different bodies, and watch them fall asleep to dreams of star-scapes and wind-swept lines and loved ones.

May all your homes be just as healthy and happy as the Cramer (and its inhabitants) are tonight.

With warmth (and a big hello from all those you love on board≈we think and talk of you all so often!),

- Norah Storniolo, Harvard

PS: Hey Fam!!! Missing you all so much. Do a Mamma Mia routine for me and take a good vid for when I'm next home. Also soak up the green of Oregon/Nasheville/Asheville!!! LOVE YOU <3 [[dad: double check junk mail, email should be coming]]

PPS: I wrote this the night before we heard news of our extended time on the ship! Guess we'll have lots more time to make this space feel homey ? Just wanted to let all the families know that we're safe and taking the news in stride. Hoping you all are safe as well!

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