Engulfed by the sea, one regresses, as it were, to some point of stillness --- the womblike still point whence life begins and ends. It is going back to a beginning and knowing it for the first time. In Eliot's words: We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time.
"Quick now, here, now, always ---
A condition of complete simplicity..."
The allure of cruises as vacations lies there -- the stillness, the simplicity. If only the threat of a perfect storm were not there. There lies, too, the exquisite danger of it all; the teetering between stillness and disaster.
It is the river as mother to the sea
Entraps us into this womblike feeling of ease;
It is the river draws us to this discovery
Of need, our quiet helplessness.
We are the river ran its course
Into an engulfment of restless sea.
A cruise is a perfect "going away" vacation. Having just finished our fifth, we plan on taking the promise of the "Allure" in 2011. A cruise mimics the stillness and simplicity of crossing some divide where one "goes away" but is able to "come back". Having one's cake and eat it, too.