I was awakened by a noise, but I was not sure what that noise was. All I know is something was out of whack. I pulled the blanket up tight, as I remembered where I was. I’d been at sea for a week, sailing from Mexico to Hawaii. I remembered that I had the 2am to 4am watch and wonder what time it was.
There’s a light glimmering from around the dark materiel I’d put in the porthole with Velcro so I could sleep, so it must be after dawn. The motion of the boat is steady as I fling my legs over the side of the bunk and try to shake the cobwebs out of my head. Whatever it was that woke me was staying silent.
After verifying that I had my shorts on (hey, sometimes folks sleep sans clothing!) I worked my way out of the aft cabin and over to the companionway. Looking up I saw Jody was at the helm. It was still drizzling a little bit and she had her slicker on.
“Everything okay?” I asked.
She was startled by my voice, but then she looked down and had this big grin on her face.
“Better than okay!” She started, “Come up here and take a look!”
At the top of the companionway I turned and looked ahead of us. We had the Main reefed during the night and about half the headsail, as it had been blowing pretty hard. What had awoken me must have been Jody hoisting the main back to full, and opening the headsail.
Behind us it was dark and foreboding In front of us was a brilliant red and yellow sunrise. The color was so bright that it reflected on the brilliant white sails, turning them a reddish hue.
“Isn’t it beautiful,” she asked. And it was. Unbelievable.
“But what about ‘Red sky at night, sailors delight; Red sky in morning, sailor take warning’” she asked, with a small frown.
I thought about it for a minute.
“Jody, don’t worry about it. That was written for sailors who sailed the Northern hemisphere. Down here, everything works the opposite.”
I didn’t actually know if that was true, but we’d crossed the equator awhile back, and it seemed to make sense to me.
For the next half hour we sat in silence, drinking some hot coffee, and watching the clouds disappear behind us, and the brilliant blue southern sky fill in. It turned out to be one of the best days of sailing we had in weeks.
We never did find out where that saying originated, but we did learn something that day. It’s a waste of time fearing what may come. Take each minute on it’s own terms. Live your life… there will plenty of time for worrying later!
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