I looked up to the crow’s nest where lookouts would have perched. Lines dropped down to the ship’s deck, cutting the sky into triangles. I snapped photographs of all that geometry, those hard lines, that negative space, and daydreamed about sailing.
As I photographed, each frame made me realize the expanses of my ignorance. I know no terminology. I do not know the names of the sails, the posts the ropes are draped on, the masts, the hardware. If I were to sail, I would not be able to communicate anything about the boat other than bow, stern, port, and starboard (and even port and starboard I confuse).
I want to learn. I want to name. Naming is a form of knowing. Language is a form of intimacy. Blocks, cleats, sails, positions. When captioning the images for my Rope post, I had to look up words. The iron post the Stad Amsterdam was tied to? A bollard. The loop used to moor it? I don’t know.
What’s the coil of rope called? Is it a rope or a line? And the wooden posts with the ropes — they’re not cleats, they’re not bitts. What are they? I don’t know, but I guarantee they have names. On board a ship in the open ocean, clarity in communication would be vital. I’ll bet every part of the ship has its own name so that orders can be communicated swiftly in precise, unquestionable language.
So a project: learn the names of the things I wondered about as I snapped photos on deck.
For the month of April, I will publish a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Trying to get back into the writing habit.
One thought on “Rigging”
It was given to us humans to name things. Sometimes I wonder though, how many names do I need to know for the same thing.
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