Let me tell you about the only moving village on this earth. Once upon the time there was a little village in the middle of the ocean. Moving from east to the west. The village has a length of 32 meters and almost the same hight. They also call it a ship sometimes, but I prefer the view of a village. The mainstreet of the village goes along the square. Every day there is a terrace on the square where people come together to have lunch or dinner, or to sit back and relax. Sometimes the square belongs to the sailmakers of the town. During day time you hear the noise of a steelbrush and woodcrafting with the tools of the Middle centeries and you smell fishoil and tar. The women and men who are on busy, smell at work, sun and an old village. They look dirty and the arms and legs are raw of an misplaced brush of paint. Perhaps it is the wind of the ocean that blows the whorst smell away. Perfect for the patient work in the heat of the tropical sun. Some artists are drawing or some local people are reading a book. The village is a lovely village nowadays.

When the sun is rising, the village comes alive. The smell of bread makes the first people awake. Breakfast and fresh coffee is waiting in the ‘casa publica’. The little house in the village where you take some food and always meet a new combination of people. Then the bow, with all the lines and coiled ropes, changes into a common bathing place. With a big bucket of salt water the villagers search for some privacy behind an extra sail. The beauty of washing people is there again, a beauty I had forgotten. People take care of their laundry by hand and their attention is catching my eyes.
Because eyes and ears are everywhere. The bathing place is not private because people are doing maintaince on the yards, the toilet is behind the helm and everything you do gets observed by one another. What about all this sharing in the village? Does it matter? It is my confrontation with the voices in my head. What does he think when i’m sitting here making music? What is her reaction when I take my rest? What does it matter? To survive and not to become the lunatic of the town I tell the voices in my head to dissappear and to adapt to the social closeness of this town. And to grab every opportunity to get out of town: looking for a bit space and freedom in the highest parts of the villages, upon the mast and along the yards. A fantastic view guaranteed, 360 degrees of ocean! For a moment you can hide yourself behind the big white sails.
Back in the village the bow changes to a barbershop and a laundrette. (This means that often you are walking into someones underwear that is out to dry). Then the mid afternoon there is time for college. In the charthouse a citizen shares his knowlegde about charts and the sextant. You can take a book from the library, or start a pop-up-band. Next to the square you will find the garage, where you find every tool you could need to live and make repairs. And in the meantime the smell of food is wafting out the main kitchen. On sundays, when the church with the holy quotes of a sailer are done, the bar with a little bit of music is opened while the sun is descending below the yardarm. A little christmas celebration with the holy rum of the village makes life perfect.
The night is coming. A waiter is watching in front of the ship like a warrior in the old times. Safety first. Most of the time the moon is giving her cold silver light and silence is getting in town, stars are moving, it still looks like that, and for the first time somebody is showing me the southern cross emerge in the sky. In the night the restaurant changes in a bakery and sometimes people are asleep on the square. The little houses in the villages are not so well ventilated, so in this tropical heat there we are, lying on the square, homeless in the village of movement. And in that movement I feel stillness. We are going 9.3 knots, in the right direction and I don’t even feel that we are going forward. Like you are a little child, and you swing a long time and the moment between the highest point and the moment that you are going down again. Stillness in the only moving village on earth where the happy new year begins when the sun is below the yard.

 

Paulien

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