While on a writing retreat earlier this week, I took a walk around the Northwest Creek Marina near New Bern. I don’t know a sloop from a ketch, but I enjoy taking note of the various names boat owners give to their yachts.

I saw one named “Stressless,” which I thought was interesting, given that two years of owning a little runabout had brought me far more stress than relaxation. I can’t imagine the trouble that a yacht would bring, unless you were rich enough to pay someone else to keep it up for you, and I can’t imagine that, either.

One boat had a statue of Buddha on the back, perhaps an aid to peaceful meditation when the boat breaks down three miles offshore.

Other craft had playful names like “Skinny Dippin'” and “Killin’ Time,” drinking names like “Absolut,” fanciful names like “Starship” and “Kizmet.”

I saw a sailboat named “Hananiah,” a Hebrew name that means something like “Yahweh is gracious to me.” Whether it’s a family name or reflects a belief that someone got the boat by the grace of God, I don’t know.

Speaking of which, I couldn’t help being taken aback by a floating oxymoron. On the back of a big cabin cruiser was the name “Life’s Reward.” Attached to the back window was a sign: “For Sale by Owner.”

I paused. Can life’s reward be bought and sold?

I couldn’t help but recall the words of someone I admire greatly: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth …”

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