In the midst of my daily wakings, I hear and feel shells. Their slap, clap, yap, yak, whack, yak, yell, yelp, hoot, holler, ring and sing this south Floridian anchorage. Heart-throbbing, heavy breathing, lung-burning, arm-aching, gut-wrenching, body-beating and back-breaking repetition speak. Coxswains and coaches call out cadence. Single, couple, fours or eights set their tenor, tune their task, increase their tempo to tone each shell's bodies and spirit. Yet nary a grunt or groan belies their true cause and mission. Like watery waves, these energetic sounds surround, rebound and resound all around. It is their united souls that strokes our conscience. These seated sea-strokers stoke their fiery souls. Their winded repetition propels them to their limits, enough strokes to cause strokes.
Nevertheless, armed with passion, these stalwarts wear their postured pain. Their energy and optimism drive their shelled craft while their intensity tests their reserves and resolve. Their graceful and synchronized movements bely their struggle. Their rhythmic sounds and heart beats become more inspiration and spirit than surface resonance. Their inspiration and dedication become palpable. Followers hear and feel their pulls and purpose. Others pull for them as well.
Their dignity emerges from their backward/forward torment. They are not sedentary souls simply sitting around doing nothing. They know the painful power of pulling together to create a forward movement. But it is not their physical strength that propels their boats. Nor is it their synchronized strokes and rhythmic rates that inspire onlookers with their grace and artistry. And it is more than dedication and persistence to achieve synchronized symmetry. I hear their rowing much more than their muscles and might. I hear their task and toil. Yes, I hear more than their heart beats, their lungs pulsating and breaths inhale/exhale; I can hear their thoughts fighting theirs. Their endurance may impress, but it is their unifying resolve and self-discipline that sounds their rowings. It is the sound of their connections, to power, patience and passion.
Their understanding and commitment to a course and cause. But unlike me, these crews pull or paddle their persistence; I use the wind and the waves. Except when I kayak, of course!
Thinking for ourselves seems simple enough. We are all to one degree or another self-centered creatures so it makes some sense we are all capable of doing our own thinking. But many of us can't or don't hear our own nonsense. When we listen to the noise and can't hear or comprehend our learning, we catches crabs, crudity and incongruence. (in-con-crew-ance?) Many can't divide or separate themselves from their sorenesses. Their hurts and hearts ache. And as a consequence can't hear how our thinking divide us. Can we row our way out of this massive mindset maelstrom? Being right and righteous does nothing to unite.
As I watched the third presidential debate between Donald and Hillary, I could not help but see and hear a shell of ourselves. One cultural sides not only pulling against each other but also at odds with itself!
Imbalanced sides tipping our shell and pulling everyone down. Can't hear or see themselves above their noise. Can't understand another way to row our barge in order that we all stay onboard to unite rather than to fight. A novel idea where the strong and weak work together to keep us rowing on a straighter course.
The story of nine working-class young men from the University of Washington who took the rowing world and America by storm when they captured the gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Their unexpected victory, against not only the Ivy League teams of the East Coast but Adolf Hitler's elite German rowers, gave hope to a nation struggling to emerge from the depths of the Great Depression.
80 years after men, American women win 2016 Olympic gold
Above, a multi-gendered and multi-aged crew take their individual seat amongst 14, face forward, handle one paddle each and synchronize their strokes as their helmsman steers and encourages their efforts past my Mystique in Marine Stadium.
Marine Stadium near Key Biscayne, Florida
They have place themselves in seat and circumstance to test their resolve and their reserves. They push themselves and pull themselves forward, unified in their expression. I can almost imagine my catamaran wanting to break loose and break water and waves with them.
Sounds carry much more than we realize over water or land. Though audible can be realized and recognized, it often drowns out its silent partners which actually beating louder beyond our listening.
Imagine hearing and feeling their thoughts, feelings, sensations, hopes, desires, opinions and differences; then we will understand humanity's sounds. It is the silence and songs within us that need to be heard.