A reciprocal boat Sometimes the boat NEEDS to sink, little miss willpower. Sometimes it’s just time to release Her. Boats are practical things that keep you afloat on water, carry what you need for a journey, bring back what you harvest. They are all female. Boats are dreams, freedoms, passions, yearnings. They are shared, protected, obvious solitudes. In them you can aim yourself to the far horizon, traverse the foreign deep and sing the sky. They cradle in a soft wind, scream in heavy weather. Without exception, boats require maintenance. Care. A reciprocal boat carries two, each with her baggage, each with his wounds which, if utilized correctly can transform into oars, a sail. A tiller, a keel even, to stabilize a fragile idea in rough weather. Ingenuity is required, shared goals, a willingness to do all the work made necessary by journey. If one refuses to bail while the other catches the wind, forgets to balance the agreement of labour and care, well then there is no crew, and the boat, She knows it. If there’s no crew to attend to the moment, then eventually, inevitably, down She goes, in sad, sorry relief. That one sank four years ago, on September 3, 2013. In the course of that time I’ve sung her Her to peace in honour of her ten years of service. Despite a poor crew. There are fair weather boats, full of jolly shout and sun. These are white white above but deep and heavy below with a labouring few who may never be seen. These know Her engines, Her faults, Her upper deck requirements and tend them, cursing the dark. Below the cursings, deeper still in the hull are dungeons where the scapegoats molder, banished for being born out of place. Light above, heavy below, She knows full well she cannot be sustained, but grinds the tending souls to breaking point in any case, for the sake of Show. One like that finally sank three years ago, in long, slow stages. I watched her break apart and go under, still raging. It was not beautiful, or poignant. The boats still out there are better made; They need maintenance at dock, newer crew, so in They come, a float of dignity and good lines, for repair and Captains who understand the weather, yearn for the horizon. Still others wait ready, clean holds full of nourishment and good sense. Me, I’ve found safe harbour. Deeply grateful for the peace after the storms. I repair, rebuild and absorb new information here, I check the shore for the next journey. I’ll know Her when I see Her; we’ll sail when the wind is right.