Super Typhoon Jelawat

Riding on the back of a dinosaur as she unabashedly crashes over trees, brambles and small houses.

The octopus ride at the carnival, the arms lifting you up and down, up and down as the world spins around you.

A flat strip of metal being bent and then with a twang, snapping back into place, the reverberations felt through each of your bones.

When you were a kid and jumped just before the elevator came to a stop, trying to get the sensation of free-falling.

Rolling in an endless figure-eight pattern or like a washing machine during the rinse cycle.

Being really, really drunk and finding yourself stumbling home using the walls and anything else available for support. And then suddenly the ground becomes a lot closer….

Trying to climb to the top of the teeter-totter at the playground only to have it tip the other direction when you’re nearly there.

A pinball bouncing off each wall as you walk down the narrow alleyways.

The metaphors I entertained myself with this morning as the ship pitched and heaved, rocked and rolled through the Sea of China, skirting the western edge of Super Typhoon Jelawat. This after waking this morning to my body becoming airborne. First my head lifting from my pillow followed shortly after by the rest of my body. I checked my clock; it was 3:44am. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when you can’t even keep your head on the pillow….

After a cloudy, rainy day yesterday, today is just stunning outside. Huge 5 – 7 meter swells white capping for as far as the eye can see, sparkling in the bright, clear day. The wind is still something not to be reckoned with–it’s making a tremendous ruckus, howling around corners, rustling and whipping everything possible and capable of flinging anything not bolted or lashed tightly to the deck.

We’re now in the clear of Typhoon Jelawat and will start making our way to Taiwan if not tonight, tomorrow morning with our arrival expected for sometime on Monday. While we were able to stay clear of the most severe parts of the storm system, others were apparently not so fortunate. During lunch I overheard the captain say that a number of mayday calls were heard last night from smaller fishing boats 300 miles away, in the path Jelawat. Watching a number of fishing boats pass near us these past few days–their bows plunging into the oncoming waves, salt water sweeping across the decks, their railings dipping into the water of each trough–I’ve been thankful to be on such a sturdy ship like the Esperanza. For most of the time, the motion of the ship is a comfort. Like the embrace of a lover, holding you close and rocking you to sleep.

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