One of the things I really like about riding the waves of Lake Michigan is how some of nautical terms are incorporated into everyday life. Two of my favorites are tail-tale signs and being in the groove. The secondary sail (the jib) has two strings laced one on each side, the first red hot and the second a cool blue now bleached by the sun. When the strings are moving together and parallel to the water the sails become pregnant with the wind and the boat glides effortlessly in the groove.
Recently I was out for a sailing lesson on a precarious morning filled with clouds daring us to enter the water. I had invited a friend to go out with my instructor, an assistant to the instructor and another student. I asked our mentor if he thought we could make the sail without rain. He said he had been checking his “app” and although there would be rain, we had plenty of time to complete our lesson. Reluctantly I entered the 21’ sonar sail boat braced of an adventure.
About 30 minutes into our instruction I asked again about the probably of rain as I watched the clouds thicken and move from sidewalk gray to slate over the Chicago skyline. Once again I was assured that the radar on my instructor’s “app” was denying any intrusion into our lesson. While handling the tiller I was, with little success, being coached to line-up the tail tales and steer the bow to meet horizon line. Finally I said, “I really can’t concentrate on what you are telling me because I’m concerned about the rain”. With a sigh once again he checked his “app” and declared our lesson would be dry. Another 45 minutes passed and I declared, “I’m from the south and we know how to see a storm coming. I’m uncomfortable. I want to return to the dock.”
So the main sail and jib were trimmed (reeled in), the motor was revved-up and my anxious nature was appeased by everyone – just as the clouds spewed out all they could hold. Our ears were filled with the tympani of thunder played on our ear drums and lightning pranced before our eyes. By the time we pulled into the dock and my wheelchair was retrieved, every fiber that constituted my existence was drenched.
I wonder how many times in life we see the tail tale signs about a situation or person and we convince ourselves we don’t see what we are seeing. We want to re-write the story or improvise on the melody to be what we want it to be ignoring the evidence right before us. Maya Angelou said, “When a person tells you who they are – believe them!” I say, “When your God given common sense tells you a storm is coming and you see the tail tale signs – don’t believe an app!”