A cautionary tale of the high seas.

Crashing through salty, towering waves, we were collectively sure we’d soon be dead, or at least irreparably maimed beyond recognition. If we, each one and all, were not soon permanently expired and dismembered, resting eternally at the bottom of the sea, we would surely be shamelessly vomiting over the sides of the good ship…whatever.

The slow boat to paradise.
The slow boat to paradise.

Yes, we had all come quickly to terms with the nature of our predicament on the most turbulent waters of the near-shore Mediterranean. Some made peace with the inevitable, some sobbed hysterically, becoming inconsolable, moistened heaps of sorrow.

“For what?” One or two of the hundred souls present were forced to wonder.
A trip to paradise, no less. A voyage to a true earthly paradise.

Since the dawn of the modern era, an idyllic, tiny island has stood guard over the space some 14 brief kilometers off the western coast of Sorrento, Italy. That distance could be covered in short order by a small, fast boat.

The realities of this important detail were completely lost on we, poor, souls committed to the slow boat from Naples. The idyllic, virtual garden of Eden that was named Capri, for one reason or another, lay invisibly off the bow, yet it might well be 10 years distant to the wretches now clinging to the pitching bowels of this hopeless, lurching ship. We, now twice that distance north from Capri, suffered through the roughest, of rough seas.

While pondering my mortality and the mortality of my surrounding neighbors , I attempted to remain on the bright side of life. I scanned the cavernous hold of the big ship for signs of optimism, ignoring tears, vomit bags, and the oppressive resulting languor of fear from imminent shipwreck. Just then, I noticed a boy of perhaps eight or nine years seated in my row.

Only six seats distant, he appeared affected, but not by the foaming waves crashing urgently over the bow of the big groaning ferry. There was something else. Something more compelling. It became all too obvious that this tiny boy was consumed by the spirit of the music reaching his tiny head through his tiny ear-bud headphones.

In the subsequent moments, as the ship threatened to flounder on the crashing sea, he mustered his passion into the best rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” that a boy of his age and experience could possibly muster under any circumstances, let alone those experienced on desperate seas.

Regrettably, we arrived in an earthly paradise some thirty minutes later, safe and sound, unharmed, but changed forever.

Capri is a lovely place to arrive in peace, or desperate circumstance. On this particular day, we came into port, and we came in like a wrecking ball.

Does this story contain a moral? The moral of this story is simple. Take the fast boat from Sorrento to Capri, if the seas be high, and in situations beyond your ability to control, perhaps it’s best to focus on your musicDSC00251.


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