Discovering lands already known
CATHEDRAL OF THE WORLD: SAILING NOTES FOR A BLUE PLANET By Myron Arms Doubleday 171 pp., $21.95
The pull of the sea has long lured sailors into territories unknown. Myron Arms taps into metaphors of the mysterious blue deep to steer readers into yet another unknown: the inner consciousness.
The bulk of his book, "Cathedral of the World," focuses on the concept of journey - preparation, departure, travel, and return. What better place to muse the power of unseen forces and the inter-connectedness of all things than in the rise and dip of ocean waves?
Written to resemble a ship's log, the book offers vivid descriptions of a sea voyage. At other times, Arms briefly visits different bays of thought in religion, science, and philosophy. The author, however, never explores one theory long enough to come up with anything of true substance, leaving the reader somewhat off-balance. But Arms strives to convey that balance shouldn't be mistaken with wanting to take control of a force larger than one's self.
"The sailor is not really the one who sails the boat," he writes. "In fact, in a very real sense, it is the boat that sails the sailor.... The trick is to let go. To let the boat lead in the dance. To become the partner, the medium through which the boat is sailed."
By the book's end, the author has pondered humanity's ultimate influence on the planet and written his own version of the Lord's Prayer. Parts of the book shine with insight and description, but ultimately, the author returns to a land already discovered.
*Kendra Nordin is a freelance writer living in Boston.