A short story from: Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019.

© Ed Peele, 2019

Supermoon, photographic art by Ramona du Houx

The anchor had been dropped in the snug little harbor for about an hour by the time Harvey finally sat down in the rear of the cockpit. It was his favorite place to lounge about whenever the opportunity presented itself. Sailing the world with Maggie had always been a dream of his, but he had no idea that it might be as much work as he had found it to be. Constant checking of things, like the rigging, the lines to everything, the food and water, were forever on his mind. In fact, he felt like his brain had been transformed into one big checklist that looped over and over. That’s why it felt so good to just sit.

“Can I join you?” came the voice from the stairs just inside the hatch.

“Absolutely, but there’s a two-beer entry fee tonight. I don’t keep company with just anybody, you know,” he replied pleasantly.

The form that rose through the hatch was backlit by the pale lights of the cabin. The glow silhouetted Maggie’s near-perfect form, and he loved the look of it. He had never expected her to actually join him in this nautical adventure, but he was so wrong. True, it had taken a bit of selling for her to buy into the whole “sail around the world” thing, but here she was. Bringing him a beer, no less.

“What a day!” she sighed, as she settled in next to him on the couch cushion.

“No doubt a near-perfect cruise. And now we are in this little spot. Flat water and just enough breeze to keep us cool. As they say, It don’t get no better than this.” He twisted the tops off the bottles and handed one to Maggie. He stared up at the full moon and took a sip of beer.

“If I haven’t told you, I am really enjoying all this, and I couldn’t be happier that you talked me into coming. And I’ve learned to do almost as much sailing as anyone I know, including you. I feel like I can do it all,” she said, boasting just a bit.

“And modest too,” Harvey chided.

“The only thing you haven’t shown me is how you manage to navigate this baby. And speaking of that, I haven’t seen a single chart or map or navigational aid. I never hear you on the squawk-box, and I know we don’t have an autopilot. So, Captain Harvey, how do you do it?”

“That is my little secret and why I get the big bucks.”

“I’m sure of all that, and I’m certain that you’ll tell me when you get ready. For now, I’m just going to bed. You won’t be long, will you?”

“No, I’m right behind you.” When she was gone and Harvey was sure he was alone, he looked up at the massive, full moon. Its face shone down on him like a spotlight, and he basked in its glow.

The moon rose higher in the sky, and Harvey continued to stare.

“So she thinks you navigate by yourself. Interesting. I’m guessing that you haven’t told her about how much I help you,” the Moon said.

Harvey shrugged his shoulders and took a satisfying sip of beer. “Mr. Moon, you know that not everyone can accept that you and I talk on a daily basis. But you also know that without you guiding this boat, I would be very, very lost. If I haven’t thanked you, then thanks. Now, where are we going tomorrow?”

As usual, Mr. Moon said very little. “Don’t worry, Captain Harvey. You are in good hands with me at the helm. I will guide you tomorrow, as I have every day. Yes, you and countless other captains though the years take the credit, while it is I, who gets you from harbor to harbor. I have led brave men to explore all the uncharted seas of the earth since before they found the world was round. My guidance has taken sailors from island to island in the Pacific Ocean. I have shown the way to the explorers of the Polar ice caps. Go to bed now, Captain, and sleep soundly, and know that I will guide you as well.”

“Goodnight, Mr. Moon.”

“Good night, Captain Harvey.”

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019 was published after a contest for writers to create stories to accompany art photography that depicted Rockland and the coast in its myriad situations, moods and emotions. This story was published in the book along with 27 others.

An overwhelming 88 stories were submitted for the contest. In the end seventeen writers were chosen. Their stories are told with depth, insight, candor, irony, wit and humor. Anyone who has every visited Maine’s coast will be able to relate to them. They’ve put humankind’s instinctive emotional connection with the sea into words.

A gallery exhibit/booksigning was held at Gallery Fukurou in September 2019. The contest was held by Polar Bear and Company, of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing.

The Maine Humanities Council provided a grant for our project that enabled the Solon Center to donate books to libraries across Maine. MHC is a statewide non-profit organization that uses the humanities, “as a tool for positive change in Maine communities.”

Please ask your local bookstore to order it in for you or, if need be, purchase it HERE. All photographic art is available through Gallery Fukurou at info(at)soloncenter.org.