Tuesday, July 18, 2023


While back in the Islands I plan to rent a sailboat at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and sail around Mamala Bay south of Waikiki. I'm a huge fan of Christopher Cross's classic song Sailing. The idea is being out on a sailboat where everything is serene and tranquil. Cross often speaks about how the song he wrote was a metaphor for existence and how sailing with a friend helped him through a particularly dark time in his life. That's what the outdoors does for some people. I never once took the beauty of Hawaii for granted while growing up there. Whether it was looking at the mighty Koolau Range or the beauty of the Mokulua Islands, the outdoors always sent my heart sailing. The second verse of the song really sums up for me where God's wondrous creation takes me:

It's not far to never never land

No reason to pretend

And if the wind is right you can find the joy 

Of innocence again

Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see

Believe me. 

In 1980 the song sailed away with honors for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. 

Sailing, like running, is a metaphor for life. On the surface it's called sailing in a boat or running on a trail, but more deeply it speaks to the good and bad experiences of life. People who don't sail or run have a romantic notion of both sports, whereas those of us who actually sail or run know that the true definition of both activities is hours and hours of boredom interspersed with moments of ecstatic joy. And that's why we love it. 

You don't have to be a sailor to enjoy Cross's Sailing. It's all about the voice and the music, and he could have substituted "surfing" or "hiking" and it would still have been a hit. All in all, to me sailing is about being removed from a mundane environment and being mentally connected with something else, be it the sea or a mountaintop. I can't express in words what sailing from Maui to Oahu meant to me as a teenager. But I can remember thinking, "This is what heaven is like." The feeling of moving with the wind. The feeling of being one with nature. The sound of the water and the seagulls. The gentle but natural heeling of the yacht. 

No other experience on earth is like being carried across the water in near silence by the power of the wind.