I recently watched a documentary about Laura Dekker, a twelve year old determined to sail solo around the world. Courts in her native Netherlands argued her goal insane and unsafe. As looney as Columbus sailing off the earth’s flat edge? Despite official discouragement, Laura completed her voyage at sixteen, setting a record as the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe alone. Soon after her accomplishment, she set sail again, most content at sea.
Why do I mention my daughter in the same breath as these world renowned mariners? Because surely Columbus didn’t sail the ocean blue to have his own holiday, a weekend for leaf peepers. It is process, not product that reveals character. My little girl took command, her father and I mere deck hands. She persevered as her papier mâché hero stood wide-eyed and naked. She changed course, took drastic measures, and after fulfilling her mission, happily left her triumph behind. No one wants to be at anchor, starring at the cobwebs of their lives. It is still a brave thing to set sail daily with childlike hope, over the edge of doubt, ignoring the approval of men, to follow the trade winds of our divine destiny, new world ahead.
Ann Averill’s father always had a little sailboat. Nowadays she lifts anchor at her desk, writing stories she hopes someone will discover and enjoy.