Sailing the sea

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I love to consider a place which I have never yet seen, but which I shall reach at last, full of repose and marking the end of those voyages, and security from the tumble of the sea. This place will be a cove set round with high hills on which there shall be no house or sign of men, and it shall be enfolded by quite deserted land, but the westering sun will shine pleasantly upon it under a warm air.  It will be a proper place for sleep.


The fairway into that haven shall be behind a pleasant sandy beach, which shall run out aslant into the sea, and shall be a breakwater made by God.  The tide shall run up behind it smoothly, and in a silent way, filling the quiet of the sand dunes brimming it all up like a cup – a cup of refreshment and quiet, a cup of ending.


Then with what pleasure shall I put my small boat round, just round the point of that sandy beach, noting the shoal water by the eddies and the deeps by the blue colour of them where the channel runs from the main into the fair-way.  Up that fair-way shall I go, up into the cove, and the gates of it shall shut behind me, headland against headland, so that I shall not see the open sea any more, though I shall still hear its distant noise.  But all around me, save for that distant echo of the surf will be silence, and the evening will be gathering already.


Under the falling light, all alone in such a place I shall let go the anchor chain, and let it rattle for the last time.  My anchor will go down into the clear salt water with a run, and when it touches I shall pay out four lengths, or more, so that she may swing easily and not drag, and then I shall tie up my canvas and fasten all for the night and get me ready for sleep.  And that will be the end of my sailing.


Hilaire Belloc



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