Next week we are attending what I call the Upper Chesapeake Annual Whitbys Brewer Sailboat Association Rendezvous. It's a long name for what is essentially a tribal council.
When we were first contemplating leaving home for the nomadic life, a friend of ours said she could never leave her tribe. It was the first time I heard of a particular group of family and friends called a tribe. That word is a great one to describe the interdependencies that allow a single person to survive. And I mean survive in the complete sense of the word: to live, to grow, to thrive, to contribute. The word implies that survival is totally a group effort.
While I will always feel self-inflicted-bandage-ripping guilt and sadness about leaving our Schenectady tribe (and the Syracuse tribe before that), that break has enabled the formation of new ones. And while no tribe can substitute for one's original tribe, new tribes are amazing. We found a new tribe in Norfolk. We found a new tribe in Deltaville. We are finding a new tribe here in Richmond. These are location-centered tribes, building on the day to day interconnectedness of running into each other at the coffee shop, exploring places together and working on community projects.
The tribe that will gather next week, though, is a location-independent tribe. It's a tribe built of passion for a boat and her people. It's no accident that boats built by the same designer are called sister ships. The kinship developed through sailing these boats and gathering to share our stories is a special one. (I'll pretend there are beach bonfires instead of electric lights to go along with the storytelling.)
Here's to tribes! To the people who we bond with, who share our survival, and who enrich our common lives.