Suddenly it was surrounded by looming skies, waves raising to heights the boat had never experienced before, no rain but the sound of thunder was deafening and the houling winds and strong currents forced the boat to struggle to stay on course. The engine worked hard. The boat soon realized that it was no ordinary storm. It seemed like the storm of the century. It was extremely violent. The boat had to be very careful. This was worse than sailing through reefs. These were uncharted waters. The boat didn’t recognize anything anywhere. Days turned into weeks and the storm raged on. Sometimes the boat would encounter other boats nearby. They lay dead in the water. Would they make it or would they sink? Noone knew. A lot of boats had sunk by now, there was a lot more flotsam, riding on the massive waves that kept coming. It was like a rollercoaster. Up, up, up to the top of the wave, where the visibility was a little better, then plunge deep into the dark valley and the next wave threatened to crush the boat to splinters. The waves were relentless. The engine was getting tired.
The boat had lost track of time. Only a few thing mattered now. The animals were safely stowed away below, the “porthole” provided what they needed. The boat held it’s course in a blind belief that you can only walk into the middle of a forest, then you’re walking out again. It was this “middle of the forest” the boat was searching for and since the storm was all around, straight forward was as good a direction as any. There seemed to be some kind of light up ahead. Or at least less darkness. The boat sailed on, not sure what to expect. The storm hadn’t slowed down and yet there were light. Further ahead the light was a little brighter. Every time the boat was on top of a wave the light was there. Shining more and more. Was it the sun? No. The sun had not been visible for weeks. Yet the light was shining up ahead. Maybe the engine had finally broken down completely. It had sounded strained for days now. But the boat was still going forward so the engine worked. The light came closer. Suddenly there was silence. Not just ordinary silence where some sounds can be heard anyway. This silence was total. The boat realized that the storm had vanished completely. At least in front of the boat. Behind it the storm was raging on as it had done for weeks. But right here there was no wind, no thunder and just small gentle waves caressing the hull. The noise from the storm had simply stopped. It seemed that the boat had reached “the middle of the forest” after all. Or more correctly; the eye of the storm. The sun was shining. The weather was warm, the air quiet and the sea was calm.
The door to the wheelhouse opened and the animals came out. They too enjoyed the change. All around on the horizon the storm could be seen, lightning and dark skies, but right here the sun was shining. A white cloud covered the sun for a short time and still the light was shining. There was something else but it was too far away to see clearly. The boat sailed on.
A huge lighthouse became visible. Warm and dark blue and a massive light on top. It was shining in every direction at the same time, spreading light everywhere. Around it was a huge cluster of what looked like ships and boats. The boat came closer and saw more. There were vessels of every kind. From the smallest dingy to the biggest cargoship. Some were beautiful yachts and others were practical fishing boats. Every hull had their own unique colour. Every flag in the top of the masts were of unique design, colours and markings, and they had come to this place from all over the world. Boats kept coming all the time. Some were going full speed ahead, others limping out of the storm. Some boats sailed in a straight line, others held a crooked course. Some boats were leaking, their hull was breached and some were barely able to float. They all had one goal; to find a safe pier and rest. The boat imagined what all this would look like from above and the picture came instantly; it looks like a snowflake. A perfect snowflake as seen in a microscope.
There was activity everywhere. Mooring lines were spun and tossed to incoming boats. Safety nets were crocheted and held under the boats that were sinking. Flags were knitted and sails were weaved to replace those that were lost in the storm. Chains of friendship arose. Among all these activities there were something else. They weren’t ghosts but representations of all those that cannot be in a place like this; family, friends, loved ones, pets and many more. They walked around on the piers, smiling and waving to the boats. Children laughing and playing, pets running around doing what they do best.
The weather is beautiful here; not too cold not too warm. There is a pleasant breeze and the fragrance of beautiful flowers are everywhere though none can be seen. The storm doesn’t exist here. It’s in the horizon raging, yes. But all the boats are safe here. Our boat found a pier and decided that it was ok to stay here for a while. It seemed nice and the diversity was incredible. One thing was the same for all boats though; the belief that the storm WILL pass.
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