Life screams past so fast I’ve started really enjoying those purely routine moments where I can just breathe in and think. I’ve started to look forward to Miss Fliss’ paper run each week.
Sure, it’s slave labour and a pain that I have to interrupt week day evenings and weekend afternoons to sit in the car and play taxi, but being on hand to dish out refills of advertising papers requires me to sit on the side of the road looking out over the beach. It’s not bad. Some nights there are magnificent sunsets and I get to witness the ferries slide in through the crimson tide. Some afternoons are sunny and warm and I get to people watch.
It’s not bad. It’s routine. It’s calming.
Today, I was watching the boats roll on their moorings as a 35 knot wind whipped up the sea. Even in the protected setting they were lurching and screeching on their ropes. They were really pulling with the wind and biting back at the sea as the waves rolled down the mouth of the estuary.
They looked alive. And wilful.
Why do the anchors hold?
Why don’t they just surrender to the force of the vessel-beast fighting hard against the restraint?
I’m not really a boatie sort so when I got home I did a bit of Google research. Apparently there are lots of different kinds of anchors, some flat, some hooked, and an innovative one that works a treat for oil rigs! There are some for sandy bottoms and some for gravel but in the end the principle remains the same and I realised that my understanding of anchors has been entirely wrong.
Anchors don’t simply stick into the sand, silt, or rock.
I know, revelation eh.
Apparently, safe anchor relies on the horizontal placement of the rope and anchor on the seabed and enough rope (or chain) to provide resistance to the force of the water on the vessel. Cool eh.
Given enough chain, the anchor is superfluous.
The aim is that the rope or chain is never taut, never put under so much pressure that it will break. Which made me think. Being anchored is a wonderful thing, but being so tightly bound to one place in a way that is so restrictive that your own rope is taut is simply dangerous. What happens when the storm comes? You risk breakage.
Isn’t it better to choose an anchorage that feels right and call it home. Then lay down enough rope so that there is a completely natural play on the anchor lines, there’s freedom to move and change without drifting too far off course or worse, breaking loose when the storm hits. And when the storm hits isn’t it best to just ride it out, bucking and jerking and rolling with the ferocity of the waves and wind. Not bending, not breaking but riding it…knowing that you are still safely at anchor.
Travelling and living so far from home in three countries has taught me many things but one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is this: I need to be anchored, not tied up, restricted and trapped. I need to know that there is room to move and I also need to know, in equal measure, that I am safe.
It’s not about weighing anchor and staying put with lead feet for the rest of my life. To really live I need to have room to move and the freedom to stay anchored.
What anchors you?