Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Endurance (03/22/04)
TITLE: The Covering
By Kathy Pollock
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
“Apply this special coating,” advised the old ship. “You will still encounter fierce weather and times when there is no wind to push behind your sails, but you will be protected and will reach the other side. The trip that you have planned is a long one, and although I have come close to the destination several times, I have never been there. Someday, I too will make the trip, but for now, I have other work to do.”
So the boat immersed himself in the coating and felt remorse that he had spent so many days zipping around the harbor with no thought for his safety or what might have been protecting him even without the covering.
Confident now that he would make the trip and arrive at his wonderful destination, he carefully checked to make sure his coating was evenly applied, his sails had no tears, and his ropes were strong and seaworthy. Having completed his pre-sailing checks, he slowly left the harbor. Feelings of adventure mingled with sadness over leaving his past behind, and some fears of what he might encounter.
“Well,” he reasoned, “the protective coating has served the old ship well. Surely it will keep me also.”
For many miles, the sea was smooth and calm. The little boat basked in the warm sunshine, enjoying the lapping of the waves, the screeching gulls overhead, and the playful dolphins that leapt beside him. But one day, the skies changed. Clouds pushed by strong winds raced across the sky, obliterating the sun and bringing a sudden chill. Those same winds began to push the little boat faster than he had ever gone before, and soon he was rising and falling quickly on huge swells of water, with little time to rest between each wave. Fear arose quickly within him, and he began to panic, until he remembered the words of the old ship.
“My covering will get me there,” he thought, and the training he had received from other, wiser ships returned to him. Before long, the seas calmed and a peaceful night was heralded by the pinpoints of twinkling lights above him.
“Well, I made it through that one,” he thought. “I’m pretty strong for a small boat.” Instantly, he heard in his mind the words of the old ship and remembered that it was his covering that had brought him safety, not his own skill.
As the days stretched into weeks, the little boat saw many things he had never seen before. There were other storms, and once there was a time, which he had heard spoken of as the doldrums, when he didn’t move at all. Even the slightest breeze refused to blow, and the little boat quickly tired of staying in the same place. He checked his coating though, and it was still there, so he trusted that one day, the breezes would come again. And they did, making him glad even for a storm if it just kept him moving closer to his destination.
Months had passed now. The little boat didn’t look much like the craft that left the harbor. His new sails were not so bright, and his neatly painted trim was beginning to peel. Amazingly, though, despite these flaws, his covering seemed to have grown thicker. The little boat gleamed despite his scars.
One day, he spotted the shore of the land he was pursuing. It seemed so bright, so safe, so inviting. As he slowed to come ashore, silvery fish flashed in the shallow water. Birds of colors he had never seen before swooped and dived around him. As he came to a stop on the sparkling, sandy beach, he heard a voice.
“Come, meet your Covering. Well done, little boat.”