Jan 15, 2024

Sea Fever

Sea Fever

"I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over."

By John Masefield (1878-1967)
English Poet Laureate (1930-1967)

My dad was born in 1917 and raised in a pioneer Alaskan family on Douglas Island, Alaska. He died at age 93, the oldest person at the time of his death on the island. He grew up fishing the seas, as did all of his brothers and his father who built their own fishing boats from scratch and used them for inter-island travel while trying to homestead in early Alaska and for  both subsistence and commercial fishing to feed our families.

He was taught as a very young boy not only how to help build and repair his family's fishing boat but to steer by the stars, to navigate the channels that led from his Douglas Island home across to Juneau but to other nearby islands where they fished and hunted.

Their love of the sea, the land and the waters on which they subsistence hunted and fished, and the sky they navigated and told time by, were all part of a deep heritage passed on by their Finnish parents.

My dad recited the the poem "Sea Fever" by John Masefield  throughout my, and my four younger brothers' lives. His love of the sea was part of his spirit, his memories, and the very soul of his Finnish DNA.

The memories of the sea, of my brothers fishing with our dad, and our boating to nearby shores and islands was an absolute constant as we all grew up to adulthood. So the love of the ocean, and the of rivers and channels that fed it just as it provided for and fed us runs in our blood, our spirits, and our souls as well.

In honor and in memory of my father, Bernhart Savikko's January 15th birthday, I write and share this poem, this post.

Love and miss everything about you so much Dad and I miss the ocean waters of Alaska too. I'm so grateful that so much of your spirit and your steadfast fortitude against all challenges is so much of my own spirit. 

I can't wait to return to the home of my heart again to walk the beautiful beaches and feel the sand from the trailings of the goldmines under my feet. Breathing in the crisp salt air, the amazing energies of the fern filled evergreen forests and feel the power and protection of the mountains that surround Douglas Island/ Juneau on booth sides of our beloved Gastineau channel as it merges with all of the points and straights and islands on its journey to the Pacific ocean.

Of note:
By the time my father and his brothers were young men all 5 of them joined the Armed Services from Territorial Alaska, they received duties which included their knowledge of the navigation of the Alaskan waters.

My dad Bernhart (Ben) Savikko skippered supply ships along the coastline of Alaska. As recognized members of a "Five Star Family" where five Savikko members from the same family all fought to preserve the safety of Alaska. Their deep love of family, home, their U.S. Territory of Alaska and this great land where they were all born and raised was nationally recognized.

They were intensely hard working, knowledgeable and deeply patriotic members of the Territory of Alaska and therefore The United States 

His death and our family sharing his ashes along the Gastineau Channel and Taku Inlet, left a tiny ripple in the ocean waters all along the coast, islands and inlets of Alaska, but a deep forever wave in our hearts.

Shown above:
A simple wallhanging made by using wildcrafted materials: a starfish, two sea shells and a piece of diftwood from my beloved home state of Alaska.

 Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting from my heart and with my hands.

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