This I believe. It’s simple to believe when the object of your belief has slapped you in the face, drenched you in cold salt water and sent vomit from someone further forward on the weather rail across the faces of you and the rest of the moveable ballast stacked along the rail as a southerly buster bursts in from across the continent loaded with dust from a million square miles of parched paddocks. Yes, I believe in Huey, god of sailors.
In other civilisations he has been known as Neptune, Poseidon and so many other names. Always boisterous, sometimes beautiful, displaying or concealing his immense strength as the whim of waves and wind suit his unknowable mind. No this is not some gentle Jesus; this is a god to be met with awe up close and personal; in the heart of the storm and again encountered like a lovers whisper in the soothing dawn after the storm.
Huey is a god worshipped in comradeship and determination, when the foredeck is three feet under water with each wave breaking back at the mast, only Huey and the cockpit team can save the deckie who goes forward to hand the number 4 and set the storm jib, cold, shivering, exhausted but glowing from his worship on the deck he struggles back to the cockpit exultant for he has faced Huey and faced him down one more time.
I’m certain dolphins know Huey and call him in their whistles; the humpbacks in their songs worship his mysteries. Sailors don’t call his name but greet him with a respectful nod and another hour of preparation for the voyage, another thoughtful look at the evening horizon seeking out for his plans for the night. Huey doesn’t want to be loved, just respected by your vigilance and the honour of his lore.
If you go down to the sea too often, you’ll know Huey, he won’t give you any choice, in that. Your choice will be between cowering on shore: or facing Huey again with the simple honesty he demands.
Yes, I believe in Huey as a simple sailor man must.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.