Friday, June 11, 2010

The Antidote for Civilization

I've been making that transition from wintery spring paddling to what passes for summer around here. Water temps are still high 40's, low 50's, so I'm still wearing the drysuit. We've had the usual mix of fog and rain with cool temps, as well as the occasional crisp, perfect day. Like today. And here I am in the gallery. That's the real transition: not working as much, with a lot of marginal paddling weather, to working all the time on gorgeous days.

We had a few good days in the end of May, like the day at Blue Hill Falls with Nate, as well as a few of our usual excursions around the archipelago. This week I met Ernst and Max and we took a trip out around some favorite spots. I'd brought my camping gear, so after they headed back to Old Quarry, I set up camp on Steves Island and spent the night there.

Maybe it felt a little odd at first. With several hours of daylight left, I set up the tent within site of my home, two miles away. At first I felt a familiar restlessness- the caffeinated anxiety I feel much of the time at home and work (for me, there's little difference between home and work). What do I do now? But there wasn't much to do. First I picked up all the garbage I could find- part of my "Island Adopter" role for MITA. Mostly fishing-related trash, of course (and I include beer cans and styrofoam cups in that category).

Then I sat and read and wrote until the sun went down. I had dinner in there somwhere as well, which didn't take much time. Occasionally, I got up and walked the perimeter of the island, which takes five minutes if you don't get distracted. I watched the sun set, and heard, over by Russ Island, a cannon shot from a schooner, followed by another. I sat on the rocks, reading until Stonington's lights winked in the darkness. Then I read by headlamp, finally crawling into the tent when I began nodding-off. Uneventful, yes, but I never would have slowed-down so much at home. I would have always been looking for that next thing that needed to get done. In the morning, I paddled back and opened the gallery on time.

Last night I considered camping again, but instead opted for a couple hours of flat-out, not-stop paddling on calm water, covering as much distance as I could before returning at sunset. One night calmed my mind, another got my blood pumping. Both somehow make the day job a bit easier to handle.


MagicSeeker said...

So envious...with only weekends to kayak, and past few not so inviting, I find your experiences so encouraging...maybe next weekend...until then I'll paddle virtually thru your blog!

Speedbumps said...

We do have a pretty good situation here, but we still have to work at not taking it for granted sometimes. It's also nice to get out for a weekend- I hope you can get out soon.