Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First You Have to Row a Little Boat

For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze...

Every now and then you read a book that you simply adore.  The kind of book you want to hold close to your heart and read aloud for all to hear because it is so beautiful that it must be shared.  On every page there is a treasure, every sentence a poem, words dance effortlessly from between the covers.  The last such book I read was The Last Unicorn  by Peter S. Beagle many, many years ago.  I've read plenty of fantastic books since then, but none have captured my heart in quite the same way.  None, that is, until First You Have to Row a Little Boat by Richard Bode.

We got the book as a gift, and instead of wedging it between a couple other books in our jam-packed bookcase never to be seen again, for some reason I decided to keep it on the little shelf beside our bed.  I believe certain books have a trace amounts of magic in them and way of finding their way to us at precisely the right time, and boy oh boy was the timing perfect for this gem.

I don't think any write up I give it can do it justice, but it must be known that it is not just for the sailor.  I would be doing those of you do not sail and might pass this book up because of it a huge disservice if I did not say that.  Sailing is merely a metaphor.  The book is a small volume whose subtitle reads "reflections on life and living" and it is full of philosophy, wisdom, poetry and inspiration all against the backdrop of Long Island Sound.  It is beautiful and thought-provoking in an almost breath-taking way and, who knows?  It might just be course-altering...
I had to judge where I was headed from where I had been, an acquired perception which has served me well - for the goals of my life, and especially my work, haven't always been visible points of light on a shore that looms in front of me.  They are fixed in my imagination, shrouded and indistinct, and I detect them best when my eyes are closed.  All too often I am forced to move toward them backward, like a boy in a rowboat, guiding myself by a cultivated inner sense of direction which tells me I am on course, tending toward the place I want to be. - First You Have to Row a Little Boat


Kimberly R. said...

I will definitely have to look this book up! Sounds wonderful. Funny I just picked up the movie The Last Unicorn for my daughter Merrick (she is 4). She LOVES it! I can't wait for her to read the book! :)

JD said...

Thanks for the book tip Brittany. I ordered it from Amazon this morning after reading your post!

Brett Anderson said...

My girlfriend gave me that book a while back and I loved it. She gave it to me because I am a sailor, but it had unintended consequences. You see, she does not share my dream and she is reluctant to leave our town and everything she has known her whole adult life to go with me on a grand adventure as I follow my dream. She thought it was just a book about boats, but really it is a book about living your life larger, following your dreams, and learning from your experiences. It had the affect of stoking the fires of my dream more, so that I was constantly bugging her about doing that trip.

Robert Salnick said...

Great review - bought it on the strength of it.

Thanks Brittany!

s/v Eolian

the Liveaboard Wife said...

Just ordered it, thanks!

S/V Doggie Paddle

Stephanie said...

Hi Brittany!I believe in the magic of books too!In our blog post just yesterday we credited Bull Canyon for landing on my desk at just the right time, it has ignited our dreams of cruising one day. Safe travels!

Robert Salnick said...

Book purchased.

Book read, slowly. This is one to relish!

Thanks for the recommendation!

s/v Eolian

Karen said...

I found this book by the side of the road and parked it on my son's bookcase. Last night we looked inside. Today it sits like a bouy in rowboat.

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