On a mid-winters evening, I'm considering the strength of my Second~Wind. Having just galantly passed the mid-century mark with the help of my two swabs, some russian vodka and an orange slice/cinnamon chaser. After an interesting break filled with laughter, forgiveness and reconnections, I am evermore committed to creating my dreams.
It is the nature of beauty and adventure that has held me hostage since my youth, and it is the place I want to reside the rest of my days. So be it. I resolve to spend my days sailing, discovering, challenging, creating, gunkholing, diving, kayaking, storytelling, laughing, conserving, admiring, illustrating and sharing the adventure with my treasure~chest of friends, the gems of my journey.
May we all stand in the wind together~
|Cabin Fever Musing||
11/21/2010, Carolina Coast Hospital
Take Cover it's gonna blow, may be the words I may need to express. Or maybe there are seasons when the boats are best left on shore to rest. This fall has been a difficult one with more physical ailments than I can count including a 5 day stint in the local hospital overlooking the southern Outer Banks. Interestingly it is ironic to me to say that the wind that sustains my life became the very thing that became difficult to come by. Breathing in the very life-force of a sailor became difficult and strained as I had caught the dreaded pneumonia. I firmly believe that some of us have to be laid up for repairs by the forces of nature in order to drive home the fact that we're not made of stainless steel. Yet, I liken this weary body to a beautifully restored wooden vessel, our maker has graciously provided internal systems to handle most invaders but without the hands of skilled craftsmen, she will still go down to her ruin.
It is this caring component that I wish to give thanks for today. While in the hospital, I had the pleasure of an attending nurse from England, whom had been a live-aboard sailor and had settled with her husband in Beaufort, NC. While her hands were busy about coaxing my small rolling veins with sticks and drips and antibiotics, securing a flow of oxygen to course through my straining lungs, her voice of calm determination quieted my soul. She and I became friends as we shared stories of our days under sail. It was a sisterhood we shared, a breath of fresh air she was in the often sterile environment of a hospital room. Her being at my bedside seemed more than a coincidence, as no family comes to visit, only concerned friends. The spirit of a sailor is realized in the hearts of other sailors whom understand the freedom of the sea and so she enlisted other sailing nurses to stop by and tell their stories.
One young nurse came by to share her family story of acquiring a fixer-upper 25' Helms from Oriental, NC, the place of many refugees awaiting rescue. Her family was from Swansboro, so they brought her down and commenced her restoration in the tiny Flying Bridge Marina, a place I knew well, having kept my 'le petite voyageur', a 23' San Juan there many seasons ago. Her telling of it, helped my mind turn to the joy of restoring beautiful swimmers and the camaraderie of crew a vessel requires to bring her back to life. I felt like that vessel, sorely neglected, battle scared and forgotten as the shifting crew of nurses swarmed my cradle~bed determined to poke and pinch every part of my hull. Having frustrated most of them with all my blown-out veins, they had to call in a critical care male nurse whom also failed on the first stick. Feeling remorse for the battle-scared bruises covering my arms, he said, let me try one more time. I turned my head and became quiet as he gently probed the needle into my forearm and found a flowing vein, in his relief, he asked, "are you alright?" and I replied, "the Lord and I presented that vein for you" and he agreed, "well it certainly wasn't me, that needle guided itself right in" and in unison we said, "AMEN".
Over the years, I can recall many times when vessels under my care and charge have presented with frustration. Seemingly impossible odds, if only we ask for that guiding assistance, the calm will overcome and the joy of accomplishment allowed to surface!
Witnessing the miracle of life in the hands of skilled craftsmen is truly a source of spirit restored, when two are gathered in his name...(there is love) amen!
|Cabin Fever Musing||
My love affair with Multihulls began so long ago when I was invited to a collegiate race in Toledo, Ohio sponsored by the local sailboat dealership that was attempting to market beach catamarans to rising college graduates. It worked. Although I had been raised on traditional wooden hulls, designed by some of the best names in yacht design and was transitioning to small dinghy racing, I had no idea something quite so glorious as flying & skipping across the water was possible...until the day I flew a hull~
Nothing in my mono-hull, one dimensional upbringing compared to this....this was beyond exhilarating.
The winds were light the morning I grabbed my crew and set out for a wonderful day on these new fast-cats. It took us some time to figure out how to make her go in light air, but it became apparent that our weight and agility had everything to do with finding her 'sweet spot' of power. In our exuberance, we took her to the edge and promptly fell over, which was the greatest learning curve as a skipper....'one must learn the delicate balance of unleashed thrust and then reining her in for maximum velocity'.
When everyone had given up for the day and headed for the showers and libations in the clubhouse, I remained on the beach, watching and waiting. Scanning the horizon for a breath of air and gazing upon the line-up fleet of potential energy sitting at rest on the beach. Ah-ha, it finally rose, a warm-evening off-shore breeze caused a clatter of halyards on the steady group of masts. One rocket-boat was still rigged and was rocking in the new breeze, awaiting someone to reach her in time for lift-off. Another sort had been waiting for the breeze at the other end of the beach, our eyes met and we knew we had to set off to feel the sensation of catamaran flight. I will never forget that first evening flying a hull in a trapeze over the cool Lake Erie waters as the sun set and the off-shore breeze connected two strangers and took them aloft~
It is with that same feeling of pure aesthetic adrenaline that I watched the 33rd Americas Cup and remembered that first time. Multihulls are pure potential energy and I was honored to see the spectacle for my first witness to an Americas Cup match. And beyond the international venue, the multihulls of the world trembled in their amas as the attention was focused on their magnificent power, beauty & grace. The Americas Cup has been won back to American shores by a multihull~
|Cabin Fever Musing||
01/03/2010, Cold Crystal Coast
The cup of water I had left outside was frozen half-full. (a sign) My thoughts exactly. I see this new year as a chance to reach out and attain some of those dreams floating around in the back of my head for years and even decades, waiting for their turn. I've spent a lifetime, seemingly, waiting on others to come, go or grow. And after some time alone here, reflecting over winter break, I've come to realize, the waiting is over. I recalled one particular memory from this past summer that still stands out in my mind, like a beacon, an intuition, a talisman.
I had just come in from the outer bank island, across the sound, on a beautiful northern broad reach on a balmy mid-summer morning. She had handled herself like a thousand other sprits'l skiffs who had sailed the sound before her...solid, steady and frisky. She behaved quite companion-like, as I lowered her rig and rolled her up on her trailer and hauled her up the ramp in front of the Morris Marina Grill. While readying the sprits'l for road travel, I noticed quite a few ladies walking into the Grill and thought, must be some kind of women's group meeting this mornin'. So when I stepped into the Grill to pay my respects and pay for the token ramp fee, I was pleasantly surprised by a lively group of women sitting at the bar there. Of course they took interest in my being there and were quite aware I had just sailed in...and one of them spoke up to confirm my place among them and a silence fell, "so, ya sailed all the way from the island by yourself did ya?" And all the faces turned my way to hear the response. I shook my head in agreement, pointing out the door at my humble wooden steed and responded, "well, me & the Heather Jane". And they all took a liking to me, their approval marked by a nod, a smile on their faces and a return to their lively conversations. I had won their approval, the Heather Jane & I were amongst Water Women and felt at home.
The freedom to do as you please is a delicate dance...especially for a woman. Knowing when to dance and when to sit out and wait for the next good song that inspires you is critical to a life of happiness and a steady diet of soulfood.
Sailing does that for me. I don't sail everyday, but I think about it. And the anticipation keeps my senses keen on the wind and my focus on the next adventure destination or better yet, the next vessel that can handle the circumstances. This constant vigil I play out day in and day out is the rythm of my days....and I'm hoping to fill even more of them in new waters over the next half-century~
|Cabin Fever Musing||