We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Look at the forest of masts in the distant loop of land and sea.
There is a sound. Do you know it?
Young persons do not know this sound. Most old persons do not know this sound, either. Even if they are sailors.
It is night, and the moon is in the cockpit now. The stars shine above and below. You are on the ink we call water during the day. The blattering of the old outboard, with the admixture of the burble of the wake and the gentle hiss of the bow in the limpid water, is interrupted only by the occasional sound of people on shore clinking plates in their sink, and talking. The sound carries unbelievably, so the sounds are like evidence of life found in an archaelogical dig, for all the relation they have to who and where you are.
The motor is cut, always with a fumbling pressing of a kill button on the greasy face of the rubber-clad tiller of the old, reliable beast. It never dies immediately.
Then there is the squeak of the gunnel against the moored boat, pinching the stand-offs between them. You are in a forest of masts, barely visible in the moonlight right off to the edge of the harbor. It's like some fantastic forest without foliage.
But here is where you must be a certain kind of old, and experienced. You cannot be in a place filled with fiberglass boats with aluminum masts.
You sit on the deck for a moment, and the wind is in your face, lightly, and you hear the slapping of all the main and jib sheets, tapping their message against the wooden masts. The old hands always would tie them out against the stays with a sort of bungie with a marlinspike loop on one end and a captured wooden block on the other, to hush that fabulous sound, and allow those that slept out on the water to slumber untroubled by the slap slap slap.
But there were so many masts. One in five or ten didn't know, or forgot in their haste to get back ashore before the magnificent magenta dusk blotted out the ocean, and left me alone with the piquant susurrus of the slap, slap, slap.
roger de hauteville
The above Maggie's author not only can write, but he has a "voice" and a consistent point of view. In other words, he is a gifted writer and not a hacker like the rest of us who can barely get our crude, unsubtle thoughts on paper.
I hope he realizes it. If I owned a Boston newspaper, I would hire him to write a weekly piece.