I knew of an old sailor.
Though old, he was skilled, experienced, and very brave. He piloted a small skiff, often into new unknown waters. Like the sailor, the skiff was old too, but had been built well and solidly by master craftsmen from a bygone age. The sailor and the skiff were long time comrades. They had explored many seas together, sailed to far off lands through pleasant times, and also much stormy weather. Heavy weather that would have sunk many boats mightier than the skiff. But no storm could outmatch the well built skiff piloted by the knowledgeable old sailor. They were like hand and glove, champion rider and horse, so attuned to each other’s vibrations that they could overcome any tempest they encountered. Though perhaps unremarkable apart, together they were a work of high performance art.
One September day they ventured off to explore an unknown Sea. There were no charts to guide the sailor, no maps to assure him of his way, only ancient myths he had heard and tales on parchment he had read. The myths told of beautiful lands surrounding the Sea, with high rocky cliffs, abundant forests, lush meadows, and snow topped mountains.
The tales promised a land where he was welcome to rest his weary ancient frame, renew his sapped energies, and sooth his fragmented mind. A land where even old mariners could dream, not thought of as foolish, and relive their better days again before the final hour. Where sturdy oaks grew and could be hewn to replace wanting timbers in a trusty skiff.
At last through pluck and good fortune the sailor found the narrow strait which served as entrance to the Sea. It was a well hidden passage. The Sea protected herself and her lands because she knew she was like no other sea, her lands a treasure to be enjoyed by only the few, the canniest, the most fearless, the most determined. Those who would face and overcome her perils.
The straight was long, but not straight at all, with twists and turns and false creeks and deceptive inlets. Only the most resolute could fathom the way through the maze the Sea had erected to guard her secrecy and protect her lands from the unworthy.
The sailor prayed he was worthy.