It took three weeks to sail between the islands, though rough weather could turn it into a more interesting five. More interesting because the waves tossed the ship from crest to crest until it felt like falling through the sky instead of skimming over the sea. Sky grey with clouds that raced like the tide faster than the ship could sail. Each glimpse of the stars flashed hope and confidence into weary hearts and hands. Hands worked lines and canvas and unruly wood until they cramped. Then did it over again. The wind howled challenge through the braces and stays and the weary souls that ordered wood and rope screamed acceptance back into the gale.
Soaked to the bone, sailors dropped into sleep like the sea. Dropping beneath the roll and pitch into the dark still depths of the ocean where the fight for survival was no more than a glimmer of light above peaceful waters not even a sinking ship would stir. Only to wake with a start when the next shift summoned them back up into the fight not just to stay together, but to keep moving forward. Keep making time. Use the furor of the storm to propel them farther. To not crash into themselves when they did.
They took the storm’s energy and bound the sailors into a unit stronger than any line, brace, timber, or bar. Fighting the storm with souls and sinew. Standing shoulder to shoulder and pulling in time to the rhythm of the sea. Ship and sailors welded into a single sword against the storm. Slicing through waves and wind and weariness to reach something more than they knew. Something more than the next shore.
The ones that love storms do not speak more or speak less. They do not have less conflict or more drama, more discipline or less order. They argue and fight and leave and return like other sailors. Yet you know them by the lightning in their eyes and the clasp of their hands. The way they smile when the wind rises and sends a chill across the napes of their necks. And if you still do not know how to see storm riders, look to the sails, and look for red.