Safe Journey, Father…..

By Larch On November 30th, 2011

I operate Maine Seaweed Company like a CSA (community supported agriculture), and visitors are welcome to come for a weekend (there’s no charge) in order to discover the source and spirit of their food.  During the first week of August, eight Russians and a Bulgarian from New York City came for a visit that they had been planning for weeks.  They arrived after dark.  We had one visitor already, and an apprentice, and Nina and myself made thirteen people that night, wondering what the next day would bring.

The next morning at brunch Stojan (pronounced Stoyan) told me that his father in Bulgaria had just died.  I said, “We live within this world for awhile, circled up and growing like an egg, and then we travel again, going in a line toward the next world, like a sperm.”  Stojan wanted to do a ceremony to send his father a prayer blessing for safe passage to the next world.  Stojan said, “I want to release my father’s spirit to fast flowing water.”

An idea started to form.  I went down to the woodworking shop and used the bandsaw to cut out thirteen little pine boats (one for each person in our home), and I drilled them to each hold a tea candle, and each one had a bow line as well.  We decorated them with paper sides, we put a rice offering in each one of them along with incense stuck into hearty Russian rye bread (of course!), and we began to form prayers for safe passage for Stojan’s father.

I read some poetry: Wendell Berry’s “To a Siberian Woodsman” and “The Gathering” which is about fathers, ending with, “I have grown to be brother to all my fathers, memory speaking to knowledge, finally, in my bones.” Stojan played his drum.

The mood became meditative.  Prayers were beginning to form.  People wrote them as they came, and tucked them into the boats.

It was just 24 hours since our guests had arrived.  I was pleased with the little fleet of boats created by our circle of friends.  We went to bed, knowing that we would be up at first light to launch the boats on the early morning outgoing tide.

In the morning,  some of the group carefully carried the boats, all tied in a circle, down to the water’s edge.

We lit the candles and the incense.

Stojan was very intent on getting all the candles and incense lit.

The weather was calm.  Amazingly, there were no mosquitoes !

I opened the circle and tied Stoyan’s lead boat with the sail to my rowboat.

Now the fleet was all in a row, ready to be towed from the cove out into the bay where a gentle east wind would carry the boats, flowing with the tide, toward the open sea.

Stoyan joined me in the rowboat.

Seated in the stern of the boat, I push-rowed so that Stojan could watch the little fleet of boats and pray for his father’s safe journey to the spirit world as we towed them out into the bay. The wind was calm, and the boats went with the tide.

It was a good ceremony.

Rest in the Light, Father, abide in the Heart.


17 Responses to “Safe Journey, Father…..”

  1. This must have been a special moment for all of you, Larch, gathered there at your home. I missed seeing your visitors but Nancy did, and she said they seemed totally in synch with the best spirit that graces the place, namely openness and tolerance.

  2. Beautiful!

  3. Thank you, Larch, for sharing this beautiful experience that won’t be forgotten by any who will read it. My children and I did have the pleasure of seeing your friends swimming the frigid waters as freely and happily as my kids do. We talked about how wonderful it was that they were enjoying the whole Maine coast experience. This entry enriches all of us. And personally, seeing the boats, Stojan and friends, in the bay that is a part of me is really special. A connection through water.

  4. aww, that’s so nice..

  5. Thank you, Larch and Nina for the amazing photos, the story and the Love Driven Light that you share.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful story and photos. I love your seaweed and your company and it was really special to have a glimpse into your life. I live in NYC and I’m one of the people who placed an order after Fukishima.
    Infinite Love Forever,
    Geordie Numata

  8. What a wonderful healing ceremony. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Very beautiful. Your operation represents the best of ancient and modern, people and land and sea in harmony. We would love to come visit some day. My wife is Japanese and my two boys are bilingual. We feel the pain of Fukushima’s tragedy and it would be nice to show my boys another coastal life spirit a half world away…:)

  10. David, you and your family are welcome to visit any time. My home sleeps 20, and there’s no charge for an overnight or a weekend stay. If you’re here during the warm season, I can take you out to the islands and show you the realm. I have 40 years of memories and stories stored inside me.

  11. What a beautiful story!

  12. what a beautiful send off..what a prayerfilled ceremony…

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this. What a beautiful true story.

  14. Larch, I absolutely love this. It’s so beautiful! Can’t wait to read more about you.

  15. This is my first visit to your site. What a touching event, beautifully written and photographed. I hope to come visit some day.

  16. My first visit too. Indeed very touching and impressive. I did another ceremonial send-off for my father. It helped me a lot coping with his death.

  17. Larch
    Just returning to your lovely site thinking of you as I just returned from a quick trip to Maine and also about to use my seaweed fertilizer I bought from you last fall. I was kept health all winter by eating the lovely seaweeds I bought and will come again if I can this fall during my yearly trip to Maine.

    Love the little (boat) blessings sent off in a row … on your site….blessed be!!