Each year comes the time when my sailboat must be put up for the winter. It’s a roulette game – I want to keep it in as long as possible, ’cause I might get another sunny day, a few free hours to lean into the wind. On the other hand, the Old Testament god of an autumn storm lies just offshore at this time of year – I’d as soon have the boat safe ashore when the winter winds and freezing temperatures threaten its integrity.
This day – the last available before my western trip – was foggy and windy both. I sailed off the mooring into the gloom. The shores loomed up before me as I tacked down my familiar river. Even though I knew where I was, the shapes are all changed by the fog – often that arresting white line of surf is the first thing I see.
I did not see one other boat on my journey down and around the last peninsula, into John’s Bay and up past Witch Island into The Gut. Leaving the boat behind – taking off anything that will rot or mildew – is like leaving behind a friend, a friend who helps me dance between the wind and the water, a couple of hundred hours of the best ‘therapy’ I know.