Perhaps the only advantage of standing a morning watch was the sunrise over the horizon. Possibly saltier sailors than I could contradict me, but there seemed both an infinite sameness and a similar degree of variability. I’d gladly get up for the morning watch for this reason rather than stand the monotony of the mid-watch – midnight until four AM. My more philosophical friends delighted in referring to my fascination with sunrise and horizon lines at sea as proof that I was not as vulgar as I sometimes seemed to them. To them, it was proof that I could see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I just smiled and said something vulgar.

While I was being vulgar, I took advantage of their inability to make light of anything or enjoy things without analyzing them. Some of their taciturn pronouncements on the profound nature of existence just rubbed me the wrong way. Going to Boston’s Museum of Fine Art was a dangerous proposition. Their ability to talk at great length about almost nothing – to bloviate – was prodigious. After a while, I’d start hectoring them, asking for definitions of words or terms; behavior that they termed vulgar.

Eventually, I wander off to find a nice seascape and wonder how Winslow Homer had nailed it so accurately. The horizon at sea sunrise, sunset, heavy weather, or light air is so changing, but always the same.

Sometimes you just need to be in the moment and not run your damned mouth


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