Submitted Date 07/12/2019

Lost in the Fog
Age 34, Castle Hayne, North Carolina, 1978
-- This is one poem, from my autobiographical series of poems, that I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my Stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

Sailing into the marshes
in January on a warm clear day
was a southerner's dream

my best friend, Tom, and I
had just finished working
on our boat
that was calling to us
to put it in the water

the old heavy catamaran
we had bought for a song
and modified
sailed quite well in
a good breeze

that afternoon we cut through
the maze of marshes
right up to Rich Inlet
making it look easy

on the beach
we broke out sandwiches
and beers
with no other boats
taking advantage of the sun

we had been there many times before
and did not worry about the gray pall
that often comes in winter at the end of the day
- it was nice to be outside in January

finally back in the boat
with a few too many
under our belts
we aimed for home

yet all at once, like a curtain,
fog shrouded the marshes
and the wind softened
to a changed direction

undaunted Tom took the helm
tacking more than ten times
to bring it to the point
where we guessed
we had a clear passage home

but just when he had
a straight shot
he faltered
and I lunged to grab the ropes

more by feel than sight
I sailed as the fog surrounded us
with the slight wind finally
letting us go in one direction
- if I was right
this route would take us to the dock
with no turns or detours

as the daylight faded
a web of mist enclosed us in dampness
and we glided in slow motion
along the edges
of gray-green marsh grass

just at sunset we did land
and climbed ashore
loaded the boat on the trailer
and went back to Tom's house
to drink a few more beers
never giving it another thought

and it was only years later
that I wondered:
what would have happened
if we had been forced
to spend the night
in an open boat
with nothing but flannel shirts
in January?


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  • David Ross Washington Jr 4 years, 10 months ago

    Interesting story. Reminds me of my old childhood memories with my male best friends who I'm no longer cool with. We shared so many great experiences that would seem to tie us together forever, but as you grow older, sometimes you grow a part. But the memories were when life was really at its peak of greatness. Then again, we all have chapters in our life, good times will come back around, whether with the same crowd or new.

    • Rick Doble 4 years, 10 months ago

      David: You are very intuitive. Because this was a very close friend -- but now we have drifted apart.

  • Ceara 4 years, 10 months ago

    This experience is a prime example of "what if..." There are so many situations we encounter that could go so differently, but we don't always consider it until what's done is done. Great depiction of this memory.

    • Rick Doble 4 years, 10 months ago

      Soren Kierkegaard: Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.