Sunday, January 1, 2017
I got out for a short paddle today in Greenlaw Cove, where we're living this winter. It was typical of the trips I've taken lately. I carried the boat down to the water and took a left. Then I closely followed the contour of shoreline for an hour or so, in and out of rocks, below overhanging trees and dripping icicles. For January first, the weather felt reasonably mild: sunny, high thirties, but some gusty winds out of the west that I was mostly able to avoid if I stayed close to shore. Over the past few days we'd had some high winds and a rainstorm that left snow pretty much everywhere besides Deer Isle. The mountains on Mount Desert Island were white on top.
It's a different kind of paddling than I do most of the year. I'm paddling to get out of the house, get a little fresh air and exercise, much the way I would go for a walk. As always, I have an eye on the weather for an exceptional stretch in which to get out for a full day somewhere, but most of the time our focus is on making the most of the winter and getting our work done, and I'm content with these little forays.
If Rebecca joins me, I'm more likely to bring along some hot chocolate and take a break somewhere like Campbell Island, but more often than not, I'm just paddling non-stop, usually trying to make the most of the short hours of daylight.
It was just about two years ago that we closed our art gallery in Stonington, moved out of the apartment above it where we'd lived for about twelve years, and went down to Georgia to do sea kayak work for that winter. Since then we've lived as cheaply as we can to make this lifestyle work, and part of that formula has been to avoid rent. Housing was provided in Georgia, and at Old Quarry we worked in exchange for the apartment our first summer, and for the space in which to park our trailer last summer. We're living in the third house we've sat, all in roughly the same part of Deer Isle. It's been satisfying to become accustomed to a new view and get to know each paddling neighborhood well.
Paddling-wise, maybe it's a bit of a holding pattern: trying to get out just enough to stay in some sort of shape, not letting the callouses totally go away, to keep the movement of the paddle somewhat fresh in our muscle memories. And some days, when I'm walking in the Tennis Preserve and I look out at Marshall Island, only a few miles away and think 'I want to go there,' it's a little frustrating, since we have the time do these things now, but not the weather or the daylight, and in the summers we're so busy with our kayak work that our own excursions get put on the back burner... in favor of making the money so we can have periods like the one we're in now. We're hoping next summer will be a little different, but it all really just comes down to having enough money. And part of that is dependent on our making the most of this time now. To be sure though, we're in a good place to watch these days come and go.