Sunday, June 7, 2009
At the End of the Day
I close the gallery at five. If I don’t dilly-dally too much (food, sitting down & saying “gee I’m tired,” etc.) I can be on the water by six. Maybe earlier. Sunset is at 8:15, and twilight lasts at least a half-hour, maybe more. And now the moon is full. So I have at least two or three hours for evening paddles, and lately, I’ve been making the most of that time. One evening I did a ten-mile loop, George’s Head to Saddleback Island, returning at sunset past three schooners anchored off Hell’s Half Acre. Another evening’s route circled some western outer ledges and Ram Island, with seals trailing just behind for miles. Last night I went around McGlathery and Gooseberry Islands, returning as the full moon rose.
I feel very lucky, but admittedly, there are moments when I lament that I don’t have more time. As I rounded Scraggy Ledge, the water surface was calm, and I’d spent the last four miles paddling in a comfortable, quick rhythm, not thinking about much, and there, miles away, Saddleback Light rose up from the horizon like a challenge. The far end of Isle au Haut was right there. I knew I could do it... if only it weren’t nearly dark and instead had a day ahead of me.
I guess the funny thing about this is, how obsessed I’ve become. I’m vaguely aware sometimes that my perspective of the importance of sea kayaking versus all other things has shifted. At some point, I came to a conscious realization that there’s almost nothing I would rather be doing with my evening than getting out in the kayak. Yes, there are movies and other events at the Opera House, and yes there are invitations to potlucks and other social events. Once upon a time, I liked to keep the gallery open into the evening. If I stay on shore for these things, I often end up talking to people about kayaking, all the while wishing I were out there instead.
This is hard to explain. Trying to rationalize it makes me feel like a convert to a weird religion watching as your listener’s eyes glaze over. Eventually, you try to avoid those conversations. And what’s a good way to do that? Just go paddling instead.