Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Leif Loved the Sea - Sea Fever by John Masefield
Leif loved the sea and sailing. When he was 16 and we were living in Puerto Rico, we sent him on a three-week teen sailing "camp" called ActionQuest. There he joined teens from all over the world sailing a fleet of sailboats throughout the British Virgin Islands.
The kids had to learn how to sail the boats, keep the boats clean, and do their own cooking. From what Leif said, I don't think the food was exactly gourmet, healthy eating, but they got plenty of it.
This was one of the highlights of Leif's life. He learned a lot from it, not the least of which was that some incredibly rich kids were on the boats and he thought some of them were spoiled brats.
He came home to Puerto Rico with his long hair in tiny braids looking like some incredible, muscled movie star, and sadly, we have no photos of it. His hair (when he had it) was like mine, soft and straight, and the braids just came apart.
It's sad to us that Leif did not keep up with so many of the things he enjoyed in his youth and young adult years, like spending time on the water. Maybe if he had, he would have enjoyed life more.
His favorite poem was "Sea Fever" by John Masefield. I read it at his Military Honors Inurnment Ceremony on April 29th.
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
By John Masefield (1878-1967).
(English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.)
I don't know whether there is any soul that survives our death. If so, I'd like to think that Leif is in a happier place and enjoying the beauty that he so often hid from or ignored in his later years when he was obsessed with computers, online gaming, and dark music.
I'd like to think of him like this photo, young, alive, free, with the wind in his hair.
Today it is two calendar months since we found his body. I remember when I discovered that his signature quote on the ZAON forums was this from Aldous Huxley, "Maybe this planet is another planet's hell." What a sad way to look at the life he led here. I wish him the joys of the sea in the poem, now and forevermore.