September 7, 2010

Working On Angels

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Bright blue and white pastels pierced through the grey clouds as the small storm changed directions. It was clear sailing ahead on that Saturday morning, and I was looking to take advantage of how vacant the now-distancing clouds left the waters of Bomoseen. I took a small three-person Sunfish out towards the middle of the lake. The craft was quaint and enjoyable; the main sail was extremely responsive and during tacks the hull hung low, allowing warm splashes onto the deck. When calm, the wind and seas beckon a rocking from the boat that is as rhythmic and spirited as waving flags. In all directions of the horizon, serenity dissolves around you. Breathtaking displays of blues and greens appear and envelope you within the tranquil lull of nature’s pennant.It was on top of these glassy waters that the ship stalled that day. The wind had completely died down — an expected but unwelcomed scenario. And right as I began to jibe, the lake, with treacherous, traitorous energy, exploded. The sudden soar of winds began painting white caps using harsh, brash strokes over the once tranquil waters. The swells overpowered the small keel, submerging the entire ship, and all of a sudden I found myself trapped underneath the antique Sunfish. Halyards running down the 12-foot mast worked in tandem with the 30-square foot sail to hold me down. The engine of my vacation turned deadly when immersed underwater — the heavy material of the sail waved as violently as it did on the surface, except now it reached for limbs and arms instead of wind. As my search for an air pocket underneath the hull failed, hunger for survival fueled my fight against Poseidon’s grasp. The waves came pounding down as I broke free. My attempts to fill my lungs with something other than lake water were futile; it was clear that his desire to keep me from the surface did not end below. Treading in such choppy waters was exhausting, so I used the last burst of adrenaline to lift myself out of the lake and climb on top of the capsized boat. After catching my breath and gaining some composure, I looked towards the dock a quarter of a mile away desperately searching for help. The rescue boat was already on the way; they did not have wings but played the role well.There are angels among us. It is rare, but we come across people whose actions are selfish and pure. Chosen somehow to be healers, it’s as if their purpose is to make the lives of those around them better. They listen, and are genuinely interested. Give candid compliments and carry a keen sight which allows them to see who we truly are, their words speak artwork and eyes see poetry. From these angels we can learn how to become better human beings. But you can often improve from everyone you come across. I’m not sure how certain people carry so much good within them, but I know that one can work towards their own enlightenment. Sailing is such a beautiful metaphor for life. A restful and removed Labor Day weekend in Vermont by Lake Bomoseen showed that when one slows things down, or swallows gallons of lake water, it draws focus on what’s meaningful in life; people and relationships. Let’s think about what it means to be human. We learn and grow by reflecting upon conversations and interactions with people’s experiences, and thus can also teach by sharing our own. We can be or become anything, for our perspectives are fluid; what become the realities of our lives are transformed and impacted by experiences of which sometimes we design, and sometimes have no control over. Vicente Gonzalez is a senior in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. He may be reached at vgonzalez@cornellsun.com. Color Between the Lines appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

Original Author: Vicente Gonzalez