Escaping the heat…..
Isn’t it funny how we always want what we don’t have? It seems like just yesterday I was shivering and longing for warm weather to come and rescue me from double soaks! Now that it’s here, that summer sunshine, I find myself concocting way to escape to cooler climates.
One of my favorite things to do when it’s hot is go to sea. There is something about being out on the water that cools me off. Okay, maybe it’s just the sight of all those wave caps that does the trick or maybe it’s the sea breeze. I’m not sure it matters.
One of my favorite research materials are logs from people at sea. There is a tranquility out on the water that inspires deep thoughts. The ocean also has a way of reducing a person to their core, stripping away all the things they thought were important and leaving them facing what they really long for. Inside the pages of a seventeenth century sailor’s diary, you’ll find letters to his sweetheart and delicate black and white sketches of marine animals she’s never seen. That same log book will become a grandchild’s favorite bed time story, read to him by his grandfather who he only knows as an old man. The Pilgrims leaving ‘The Old World’ behind for a new life in what would become America wrote down their dreams of freedom and hope. Young men caught in the grip of World War Two scribbled down their deepest feelings and dreams of making it back home to the simple pleasures of life. Today, a hand written letter still brings a lot of joy to a deployed soldier. When there isn’t a power source, those little folded papers light up faces.
In today’s world, we don’t have to wait for a letter anymore but when I go sailing, I discover myself reaching for a pen instead of the lap top. I know, old fashioned of me but there is something about being out on the water that just makes the feeling of a pen…well…right. The wind whips up from the surface of the water and if you’re lucky, a dolphin or two just might make an appearance.
There’s something about those hand written pages that brings the ‘flavor’ of history back. I write a lot of historicals and many times they begin with pen and paper while I’m sitting on the deck of a ship. So who still has some letters tucked away? I know I do. I’d love to hear about some of them and when it’s hot, sitting under a shady tree is a great place to read one of those old letters.