Friday, April 23, 2010


After my first night alone onboard, I was chatting with a local and mentioned "that storm last night."

"Huh, I didn't even notice," he said.

And that's the kind of storm it was, the kind that passes without notice on land. In a house, with the doors and windows closed, with the heat on, it's easy to sleep in total ignorance of what transpires just beyond the walls. But on the water, a thin piece of floating fiberglass separating me from the wind and water, I live at the whim of nature, unable to shut it out.

I watch the barometer for changes. I check the tides, the wind prediction, the radar. Three times a day, while preparing meals, I turn on my new talk radio: marine radio channel 1, DJed by a cold automaton droning about wind direction and wave height and small craft advisories.

I've settled into the sounds of my boat and the water on her hull. My ears have tuned to the new normal and prick instantly at change, an unexpected bump or a wind shift.

My sleep is at the same time soothed by the roll of water passing by and peppered with alert for the midnight call of my boat needing assistance.

My muscles are sore from constant motion, subtle as it is in this quiet marina.

All my senses are adjusting to a totally unfamiliar world.

Sometimes I peer out the port, 30 yards down the dock, at that other world and ponder lines and crossing them, waves and wind, and what a difference a few yards can make.

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