John Soderberg

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Deep Water Blow
Deep Water Blow
Deep Water Blow
Patinaed bronze
28" H X 36" W, Edition of 30
 
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Deep Water Blow

When Ceyx perished in a shipwreck, Alcyon threw herself into the sea. But the gods, out of compassion, changed her and her husband into birds, and gave them special powers. Thus it was once believed that the alcyon, or kingfisher, having the power to calm the waves, made its nest and hatched its young upon the surface of the water far from the land. For centuries, therefore, times when the sea was utterly becalmed, sleek as a mirror, untouched even by breeze, were known as "halcyon days".

When the kingfisher was absent, though, the sea could return in all its might as the ultimate predator, talons unsheathed, when shrieking black wings would tear hill-size chunks from mountainous waves to heave at the decks of ships where men clung like blind insects to their twigs of mast, their helms, their threads of line and their rails. This terror, this dark side of the halcyon calm when the sky and the sea combined to become the gaping, hissing maw of a monstrous, ravenous moon-size owl smashing its wings at even the faintest suggestion of human life, was called a "blow".

Such were the terms the deep-water sailors used.

Deep Water Blow is a deep-water sailor hauling in a line against the almost conscious rage of a whole water world gone shrieking, heaving, thudding mad on the taste of sail-shredding wind. Far out to sea, the horizon gone and even the distinction of the sea and sky tumbled and blurred in this country-size convulsion of the elements, one man pitting himself against the endless paroxysms of this Earth's most frightening storm, a deep water blow.

The spirit of a deep-sea sailor is of a rare and special sort. Ask any 80-year-old deep-sea sailor why he spent his life at sea. It's always based on love. Those who sailed the sea loved the sea. They loved its special solitudes. They knew its moods and had a father's love for its playful aspects, its halcyon side. It is a special love of a longing, yearning constant kind.