Up Close and Personal
Seascapes: Spring/Summer 2013
When I asked the editor if he had a suggested theme for “Seascapes,” he offered that it would come to me from the overall content of this issue of the Mystic Seaport Magazine. He was correct. In fact, I didn’t get past page 4… this page. One look at the painting by Anthony Davis, “Up Close and Personal,” which accompanies “Seascapes,” and the answer was there. How could one look at those waves and not be reconnected with one’s personal relationship with the sea? The painting speaks to both the beauty and power of a restless sea that draws us to its edge and invites us to sail to distant horizons.
In early February, author and sailor John Rousmaniere spoke at the American Schooner Association’s annual meeting at Mystic Seaport about seamanship and the hard lessons that we have learned (or not learned) from going to sea. John began his talk with a segment regarding the mystique and awe of the sea, and he asked us to reflect back on our first sail and the feelings it evoked as the water rushed by the leeward rail. He referenced Joseph Conrad’s The Mirror of the Sea and suggested it be re-read annually as food for the maritime soul. John’s words reminded me of maritime historian Gaddis Smith’s assertion that “the sea connects all things,” which I’m sure would also resonate with a room full of ardent schooner sailors.
We’ve all had our own deep and personal experiences from and with the sea, and we are fortunate that Davis, Rousmaniere, Conrad, and others add their own interpretations to our evolving “collection.” As mariners, we understand what lies at the core of their work, and we are grateful for their expressions of the sea ethic. At Mystic Seaport, we, too, present a tangible, diverse interpretation of our maritime heritage. Our skilled teachers, interpreters, shipwrights, instructors, and curators provide insight and access to our nation’s maritime heritage for seasoned seamen and women, as well as neophytes. Some are given their first encounter with the sea, be it from the shore or their first experience rowing a boat. Our goal is that our visitors’ Mystic Seaport experiences will significantly influence how they understand our maritime history and heritage and will ultimately lead toward developing interested and responsible citizens of the sea.
This summer will be a most noteworthy one at the Museum: Civil War Naval Encampment, Sea Music Festival, WoodenBoat Show, the launch of the Charles W. Morgan, Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous, Antique Marine Engine Show, and the Antique Vehicle Show… and that is just for starters!
Be sure your membership is up-to-date and plan on Mystic Seaport being your place of choice for a summer filled with maritime heritage and the celebration of same.
Stephen C. White