Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Death of a Blue Water Sailor

We're informed that a blue water sailor has passed from this earth. I never met Phil Harris but shared some of his life and times vicariously as a lot of us did.
In my mind Phil was a person who was completely attuned to everything around him, and made no distinction between the human, the physical, the social and the mechanical. One season he had engine trouble and referred to the engines in the Cornelia Marie as the good girl and the bad girl.

I guess I feel a bond existed because my grandfather was a blue water sailor as well, and you always had the feeling that those eyes had seen things far away that the rest of us shorebound folks could only speculate about.

Through the wonders of television and the stamina of film crews we got to see just a little of what the life of a blue water sailor is about, and the joys and sorrows that accrue to 'the finest kind'.

In the end, it was the physical that let Phil down at an early age.

As was true for missing friends I offer the pen of A.E. Housman to this blue water sailor.

Home is the Sailor

Home is the sailor, home from sea:

Her far-borne canvas furled

The ship pours shining on the quay

The plunder of the world.

Home is the hunter from the hill:

Fast in the boundless snare

All flesh lies taken at his will

And every fowl of air.

'Tis evening on the moorland free,

The starlit wave is still:

Home is the sailor from the sea,

The hunter from the hill.


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