Sailing on the Edge of Numb

by JohnAllison

I'm sitting in the back of my sailboat, relaxing, looking for a bird - a bird in a tree, on another boat, anywhere - just so I can plan my day on the bay. You see, birds always face into the wind so they're handy little wind gauges (just something that sailors know).

For some reason, it hit me. It hits me occasionally, but not often. I look around. This is amazing! I have a sailboat! I sail! I'm on the water where I always want to be. I rarely appreciate where I am or what good fortune I have. Do I even know how to fully appreciate?

I suppose we have to be like this. We have to be on the edge of numb concerning the world that swirls around us. The rape, torture and mass murders, the genocide that pervades Africa alone takes thousands daily. People are killed every day right here. A shooting death may get 15 seconds of coverage on the news, but so many lives must be turned upside down in the aftermath. There are so many out there who could use help - my help, our help. If you really let yourself feel it, you'd be more than overwhelmed. Perhaps the appropriate response to the pain around us would be far too much for a person to feel.

So, to survive, we distance ourselves from our own world.

The distance filters our joys too. Perhaps that's not necessary. I'm allowed to be excited for every second I'm on my boat (and for many other things as well), but I have to work to feel what I have.

It was a small thing, but I realized that I was sitting with my back to the wind, so I moved to the other side of the cockpit. I sat with the wind blowing in my face. It is good to be right here, like this, to feel.

The storm clouds started to seriously think about getting to work; a light mist began to fall. It blew into my face. I let it. There was nothing between the rain and me.

The cool, pure water dripping off my face left me wondering when humans lost the instinct to face into the wind.

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