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Changing Tides

Updated: Jul 17, 2023


Your eyes fill with wonder as you stare out at the ocean. A desire sparks with dreams of

adventure to discover the secrets that hide within the sea. Whispering to the wind, “What is your mystery?”

A self-made man who’s worked hard his whole life. No time for simple pleasures, just

your job, and your wife. Meditating to yourself as you search the ocean blue. There’s nothing in this world that I can’t do.

You take the plunge and buy the boat. Leaving behind your responsibilities and a vague

note. Not sure when you will be back at bay. Life is too short…it’s time to explore and play.

As you step onto the sailboat you salute the mainland. Pulling your baseball hat to your chest and feeling grand. Placing your hands at the helm you become empowered. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a coward. Finding confidence in the keel as the wind fills the mainsail. Embracing the strength of nature, no other thoughts prevail.

Everything is going perfectly to plan. Your skin hasn’t seen the sun in years. Time to

work on that tan. You are on your port tack as you billow out to sea. Leaving it all behind and feeling carefree. Your lines are strong, you feel at peace. Seduced by the water. Any fears are deceased.

As the sun begins to set, the tide starts to change. The air feels cold and somewhat

strange. The thrill of heeling over as the wind picks up is enough to make you jump as the boat bends leeward. You thrust all your weight in attempts to go windward. I must have drifted off as I drifted away. No land in sight, no coast at bay.

The ocean grows angry as the waves crash on the deck floor. Learning your lesson on

what not to ignore. Terror rises within you as you see the tide. Growing like a monster in weight and size. It thunders on top of you nearly making you drown. Barely catching your breath. Unable to make a sound.

As if you’re rejected, you become ejected. Soaring through the air before diving beneath.

For a moment you feel tranquil as you hold your breath…weightless and serene in the darkness.

The voice inside you screams in your mind. I will survive. I will not accept defeat. I have a life at home you simply can’t beat. You thrust your hands up as you submerge your body. Swimming with power toward your passion-filled oddity.

Under the water, you can feel the side of the boat. How do I get back up? How do I float?

You pan your hands around like a mime. Looking for a clue or some kind of sign. Finally, you

grab the coarse and abrasive line. I am the captain, and you are mine.

You pull yourself up with determination. This is what you know, how to feed your

intuition. Shouting out into the night, “Is that all you’ve got? You can’t scare me. I can handle a fight!” The sea responds with greater rage. Roaring down upon you in your suspended cage.

Reaching out to your lines you tie yourself down. Enduring the temper of a thousand

devils as it tries to destroy you. Rolling your boat under into a watery grave. You take your last breath as you finally cave. Releasing your pride and arrogance all at once. Accepting true humility. The ocean, my God, is stronger than me. Let it be.

At that moment, the boat flips over. The waters start to calm, making it through this

endeavor. Choking up the water you look up at the sky. Thank you for not letting me die. The sun begins to rise shining rays like a beacon. You set sail east and follow the light home.

A new appreciation for the world soaks in. The wafting air hugs you. The sea kisses your

face. Forgiving each other for the pain you’ve suffered. Apologies you sing for all those in your heart. I’ll never take you for granted. Let’s never part.

You’re eager to be on land as you pull into the harbor. A new sentiment for being

grounded and absorbing the lessons at hand. You rush home to see your wife and tell her about your ocean encounter. Holding her in your arms, even her skin feels softer. You look deep into her eyes and confess.

“The ocean was cruel, this is true. I never stopped thinking about seeing you. I'm

overcome with humility as of late. I’m nothing without my first mate.”

Weeks go by as you learn together. Sharing a passion while reigniting your own for each

other. This time you’re ready to set sail again. With your love, first mate, and best friend. Taking turns at the helm you both live in the moment. Finding true freedom in this atonement.


I wrote this short story for my father, who is also an independent author. We share a passion for poetry, literature, and the art of the written word.

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