keskiviikko 20. tammikuuta 2021

Nautical Aesthetics, part one

 Nautical Aesthetics

(Proofreader needed!)


I have always loved the sea, all of them I have been, which is not much: the Baltic and the Atlantic. I love also sailing, but I have never been to racing nor to family cruising. I wish I could sail with a couple of good friends over the Baltic anomaly (please, refer to Google). I wish I could once more sail along the huge swell after a storm raging somewhere far enough.

Google, our friend of knowledge gave me next to nothing about nautical or sea aesthetics. The first results were clothes, fragrances, furniture and so on. So, something I would call sea romantics. Aesthetics of the unexperienced (which, indeed, would be a topic for a doctoral thesis alone). I was amazed. I was almost almost fazed!

(My possible international reader. In Finland there is an ages old chocolate brand "Fazer". The name is from Karl Fazer, who started the business here. I guess only a tiny minority of the Finns thinks the meaning of the name. They would be fazed! Fazer Finland was a Swan 651 type yacht taking part in the Whitbread race around the World around 1985. The FF ended third, which was not bad indeed!)

So, back to the sea or nautical aesthetics. From the wall of my Facebook wall:

-Meri on mulle vieraampi juttu.

-Yksinkertaista: meri on etupäässä vettä. Meret peittävät noin kaksi kolmannesta maapallon pinnasta. Loput on laivojen tilapäistä kiinnittämistä varten. Laivat tehdään niin kevyestä raudasta, että ne kelluvat ja yleensä ne kulkevat terävä pää edellä. Terävä pää on eduksi.



-The sea is not familiar to me.

-Simply: the seas consist mainly of water. They cover about two thirds of the surface of the Earth. The rest is for mooring the ships temporarily. Ships are made of so light iron that they float and usually they sail the sharp head first. Being sharp is a benefit.

(Sharp = vigilant, literally it should be translated as smart or intelligent, but it would have spoiled the joke.)

Sorry, my friends! Finally to das Ding an sich!  What is the sea for us? What is it as an object of aesthetic perception and appreciation? The last thing first: I temporarily define the aesthetics as philosophy, acts, imitating, whatever, not for immediate material or economical good. If I ever wright more about this subject, the aesthetics is to be encompassed far, far more thoroughly. Right now I can only anticipate that the definition will deal with joy, recreation, retreating and maybe appreciating the frightening sublime.

The sea for us the human is a road, a working place, place to relax or have fun, a surface to have different kinds of competitions and races on, something to appreciate from the beach. The sea is our original home and it will be there until the Sun turns to a red giant and boils all the water. Or maybe an asteroid crushes our Earth and spills all the water around the space.

For millenia the sea has been a fearsome place to earn one's living. Drunks were shanghaied to work onboard. The worth of single sailor is described in a proverb in latin: Navigare necesse est, vivere non est. Sailing is necessary, living is not. You can see this sentence printed on sea kitsch. Look: sailing the seas was and is important for merchants, kingdoms, fishers, explorers, missionaries, oil drillers, crews of the cruising ship. One single seaman is not worth much compared to the captain, to the shipowner, to the king and finally, to our very God! What did this mean in harsh practice? You were a just a drunk picked from a harbour inn into a ship. You were next to rubbish, if even next to. If you fell off board, most probably you were left to drown, freeze to death or get eaten by a sea monster. Romantic, huh? The ship could not be stopped for example in a storm for one sailor because it would have endangered the ship and the rest of the crew and the captain, the owner, the cargo, the king and God herself! Blessed be the sea rescue helicopter. (Did you know that helicopter is not a heli-copter, but heliko-pter, a round-wing.) This might have been also a reason use drunks as seamen: they will die anyway, so the there should be plenty of them aboard. The attitude change later and seamen became appreciated and seamanship a skill not to be reached by anyone born somewhere on the country side.

I am autistic. And I am crying while writing this. As a child and youngster I could stare at the sea for ages. I remember sitting by the window or standing on the deck onboard a Swedensboat (Ruotsinlaiva; a ship sailing between Finland and Sweden. Respectively called finlandsbåt is Sweden. Probably not necessary to translate.) The glittering surface, the waves, other vessels sailing there, blue sky and everything changing constantly but usually peacefully. It all was interesting and relaxing in a same time.

I also remember a camps for single parent families. They took place by the sea. I was around seven and eight years old. Blessed were the seventies! Nobody was prohibiting me from going to the beach, casting stones to the waves, staring at the swell entering the shallow and rocky beach. I guess nowadays there would be dozens of worried adults constantly warning about not going too close to the waves, not walking too far away, not throwing anything anywhere for any reason, fuck! I would have died of disappointment not let alone with the sea. You know, five minutes of beholding the waves is enough, then it is time for some healthy team play with the other children... while the wave crests are white of foam and their walls, sometimes steep, sometimes gently sloping, are rolling against the sharp formed stones. The bare way of existence of the sea was something extremely tempting.

It looks like this is the first part of a series of essays. I am too tired to write down all I have on my mind. Even what I have written this far is more like an arbitrary stream of thoughts. I shall returrrn!

Photography is a way to look at and aprreciate the sea. On dark, cloudy weather and waves like 3 meters or 10 feet taking the pictures of the waves is quite a demanding task, even on board a biggish cruise ferry.