I remember the thought struck me when I was least expecting it. When was the last time I had seen the moon? I had gathered up the day’s trash and was unenthusiastically rounding the corner of our suburban home to toss it in the large garbage can, when, raising my arm to drop it in, my eye caught sight of the silver moon, shining in the sky overhead. I stopped. When was the last time I had seen the moon? I literally could not remember. Was it a few weeks ago when we took an occasional walk in the evening? Or was it a year ago, when we lived on our boat and the sky was spread before us every day and every night, a continual visual feast? No matter how long it actually had been, I realized, it had been too long. Living in a comfortable house in a convenient area of town definitely had its advantages, but it was this realization- that not only had I missed countless risings and settings of those heavenly lights, but that I had not even noticed that I had missed them- that gave me a stab of sadness.
Two years ago, May of 2017, we uttered those famous last words that, we learned, have often been hastily said by many a weary cruiser: “We are done cruising.” But even though they are said with much finality, they soon waver as the call of the sea, and the refreshing salty breezes soften their resolve.
It was that way with us, and we’ve heard from others as well. “I tried to return to land life,” some have told us, “I really tried!” But for those, like us, who have been wooed by this watery life, it’s difficult, maybe impossible, to return to a life that doesn’t move with the tides and the wind.
After 22 months on land, we moved back aboard this March, living at a marina in a small North Florida town called Green Cove Springs. We’ve since moved marinas (to one next door) and are getting acquainted with this quaint and historical town, enjoying the beauty of the broad St. John’s River, the bubbling natural spring located in town, and the humbling beauty of chapels over one hundred years old.
Now I don’t wonder when the last time it was that I saw the moon. The sunrise and the sunset, even the moon rise and moon set are friends that we enjoy the company of often. The stars twinkle over bobbing masts and even the rainy gray clouds spark awe as they tumble over the open horizon.
We’ve finally returned and are smiling as we think back on our “famous last words.”