sailing with a ship of fools

Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made,
for somewhere deep in their oaken hearts the soul of a song is laid.”

Robert N. Rose

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars,
or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven
to the human spirit.”

Helen Keller


(Hieronymus Bosch / Ship of Fools/ 1490-1500/ Louvre, Paris)

The art of Hieronymus Bosch coupled with the notion of sailing…

Ahhhh…

Does it get any better????

As a long time art teacher, who loves the symbology of the Dutch northern Renaissance
artist Hieronymus Bosch, topped off with notion of sailing…sailing along a
warm air current, I was actually transported back to a better time by the misery
of our current events.

Huh??

Stay with me.

When I was in college, I spent my summers as a camp counselor up in Black Mt,
North Carolina…at a Christian girls summer camp.

And may it be noted that I have an equal love of both mountain and ocean…
for God planted the seed in my soul for a love of His handiwork.

I was a city girl who was growing up in a massively dysfunctional family…
and so just being able to get away, getting lost high in the Appalachian mountains,
provided me with the reassuring knowledge that there was something, or more like
Someone, who was so much greater than my current state of misery.

It was the summer of 1980 and I took off from Atlanta in my little blue pinto
with its solid glass back hatch and blue plaid seats, pinto jeep as I affectionately
called her, heading north on a 5 hour journey, high up into the mountains.

I had a tape cassette player in my car and I always popped in Chris Cross’s tape.
At some obscure mile marker as I exited off of I-85, I popped in the tape
once I saw the first looming blue grey mound topping the horizon.

I’d play the song Sailing over and over again.
Hitting repeat constantly.
Over and over, mile after mile.

Windows cranked down as my arm was outstretched acting like a small wing–
all the while as I cruised upwards on what seemed like an endlessly
inviting string of winding roads.

Alone, with some sense of independence, I was contently winging my way to
a place where I felt at home.
Sailing along on the current of a warm summer wind, I was lovingly nestled
within the undulating spine of an ancient mountain chain.

Flash back to my northern Renaissance art history class.
It was where I met Hieronymus Bosch.

A surreal painter long before surrealism was a thing.

Mystical and full of Christian symbolism…his paintings rang of
the satirical yet candid truth of what our ancient faith was all about.

God doesn’t play.
His word is His word…whether we like it or not.

Fast forward…..

I did a stupid thing today–I watched the news.

Hackers hit again.
Holding US companies hostage.
Putin knowingly and smugly smiles.
Biden trips over his thoughts and words.

Chicago continues killing itself…skyrocketing black on black murders…
Innocent children being shot and killed…
while a black mayor blames a white population.

A White House Press Secretary is asked about the current troubles
plaguing the land and right on cue, she defers responsibility, blaming the
previous administration.

The latest version of the Mod Squad defames the flag, their
constituents, their responsibility, their nation.

Hate spews from their mouths.

A black anthem verses THE anthem.
Segregation is oddly, once again, the name of the game.
A statue of Liberty is labeled obsolete.
Oddly it is now black who wants the separation from white while
a new generation is brainwashed over the notion of white privilege.

All the while we sail away on a ship filled with fools….


(A reconstruction of the left and right wings of the triptych: at upper left
The Ship of Fools; at lower left: Allegory of Gluttony and Lust.
Panel at right is Death and the Miser. At bottom “The Wayfarer”
which would have been on the outside of the triptych.)

The painting Ship of Fools is a painting by Hieronymus Bosch,
now on display in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
The surviving painting is a fragment of a triptych that was cut into several parts.
The Ship of Fools was painted on one of the wings of the altarpiece,
and is about two thirds of its original length.
The bottom third of the panel belongs to Yale University Art Gallery
and is exhibited under the title Allegory of Gluttony.
The wing on the other side, which has more or less retained its full length,
is the Death and the Miser, now in the National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C.
The two panels together would have represented the two extremes
of prodigality and miserliness, condemning and caricaturing both.
The Wayfarer was painted on the right panel rear of the triptych.
The central panel, if existed, is unknown.

wikipedia

Well, it’s not far down to paradise, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me.
It’s not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me.
Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free
Fantasy, it gets the best of me
When I’m sailing
All caught up in the reverie, every word is a symphony
Won’t you believe me?
Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free
Well it’s not far back to sanity, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me.
Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

(songwriter Carter Burwell / performed by Chris Cross)

13 comments on “sailing with a ship of fools

  1. atimetoshare.me says:

    Your words are always filled with truth and teaching. I’ve learned so much from you over the past several years. I made the mistake of turning on the news last week when the apartment complex partially collapsed. There was no sound at first – only images – dust spewing from a crumbled edifice. It made me think of 9/11 and I thought immediately that we were at war. I soon found out differently. It just shows how quickly things change in the flash of a second. I still don’t watch the news. It’s nothing but enraging and down heartening. I guess we need to know however.

  2. K.L. Hale says:

    I was singing Anne Murray’s, “A Little Good News” this morning (it’s in one of my posts along with “Sailing”~another favorite). You and Kathy both inspire me. Where would we be without faith? Your story is beautiful. I was a counselor at a girl’s Christian Camp and the memories are wonderful. Thank you, Julie for sharing!

  3. oneta hayes says:

    I’m thinking how opposite we are in almost all ways, yet you are as close in relationship as a dear little sister. I’m proud of your talents. Of course, because we are of the family of God. I’ve never heard “Sailing” but I do like it.

  4. Dawn Marie says:

    Isn’t God amazing how He orchestrates all our ships to pass one another in this cyber-space? You, Karla, Oneta, and a few others I feel so akin to. The details of each post may be different but yet the heart space is so very much the same. And then there’s the thing of commonality….like I ALSO owned a blue Ford Pinto!!! (So freaky!!!) Purchased mine in 1983 – although the car itself – if I remember correctly was built sometime 1974-78. (https://hugsnblessings.com/2021/03/19/splish-splash/ ) I really am grateful our ships are sailing the same seas!! Hugs dear cast-a-way friend!

    • Oh my gosh— that is hysterical!!!
      I got mine in 1978.
      I had wanted a keep so badly but my would hear none of that— so I called it pinto keep cause I’d often take it off road like a keep 🤣
      When I saw a 60 minutes segment about how the gas tank could explode if the car was hit from the back, I immediately took mine to be blessed by our priest and I super glued a crucifix on the dash—
      The solid glass hatch sold me 🤣

  5. hatrack4 says:

    Sailing? One of my favorites in the day. It still holds up. And I agree, even with the thought of simply not watching the news.

  6. SLIMJIM says:

    Love Bosch’s art.
    WHat a crazy time it is whenever I see the news…

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