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Even keeled

My husband and I went sailing last week. We hadn’t sailed alone together in over 12 years. The boat was to come out of the water the next day and the wind was calling him. A perfect day for a sail – the sun was warm and the breeze was cool. Delightful.

Charlie was wondering if he could ready the boat and sail it all by himself and I was happy to read my book while he did. The engine wasn’t working so we took off under sail. We quickly zipped through the harbor, checking out the other boats nearby. We passed by Brant Point, waving to the boys as they fished for scup.


We had a good strong wind that day with serious gusts at times. We would heel so far over I was sure that we would capsize. Physically uncomfortable in the heeling boat – either too high in the air or way too close to the water – my nerves and anxiety sent out huge warning signals to me. In my head I heard DANGER WILL ROBINSON! but I did not say anything to Charlie. And then just when I was convinced we had no where to go but over, my husband released the sheets adjusting the mainsail. We were balanced again.

My husband has been sailing for most of his life.  I trust his knowledge and experience. I trust him to keep me safe. Rationally I know he will not capsize the boat even when my fear is overwhelming me – all will be well in a few seconds. I know we are fine because even though I am outside of my comfort zone and freaking out in my head, Charlie is as cool as a cucumber.

Despite the gusty winds that terrified me, Charlie always had complete control of the boat. He sails with the precision and synchronicity of Fred effortlessly gliding Ginger across the ballroom floor. With tiller in hand, he watches the wind in the sails making precise adjustments exactly when needed – his joy is almost palpable.

As we brought the boat back to the mooring I was exhilarated. It had been a spectacular day of sailing – gorgeous weather, time alone with my husband, a tiny bit of adventure, and most importantly I had grown a little braver. I can be a timid creature of habit who doesn’t often venture beyond my comfort zones. Fortunately, I married a man who gently nudges me to places of discomfort and then brings me back to an even keel.

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