Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sailing Off into the Sunset--and Back

We are back from our annual sailing trip--it's annual, in that we meet up on my sister/brother-in-law's sailboat once a year than annual in that we go at the same time every year.

I think that it's telling that once we could all get away for a week.  This year we chose Labor Day week-end because it was the only time we could be sure that we'd all have a day off.

Here are some highlights from the trip, but first, a low point:

--Airline travel.  We checked the website, which said our plane would depart on time, before going to the airport.  Our outbound flight left 2 and a half hours late.  There are worse places to be stuck than the airport--I had the refugees stuck in European train stations very much on my mind.  Still, it was aggravating.  But I did make notes for a poem.

More aggravating was the return trip where at least 5 people around us listened to electronics without headphones.  Really?  When did this behavior become OK?  I asked the pair behind me to turn down their movie, and I asked the flight attendant to find the source of the explosion noise that had been going on for an hour--she did, and the rest of the noise played softly on.

There's a reason I take the car more often, when driving is one of the options.  But when we're headed off for a long week-end in Maryland, it was good to have air travel, even late and noisy air travel, as an option.

Now, on to the highlights of the week-end:

--We had a great time reconnecting with family.  I completely disconnected from my electronics.  It was lovely.

--It was great to get to a different landscape:  more trees, a different aquatic ecosystem.  I saw some leaves already changing.

But some things don't change.  We had numerous jellyfish stings--yes, in the Chesapeake Bay.

--I read All the Light We Cannot See.  What a great book.  I'll probably say more on this book by Anthony Doerr later.

I read part of The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.  I will likely finish it, but I'm not enjoying it as much.  Both books have sinister overtones and undertones, but the characters in the Waters book are less compelling, less likable.

--I continue to find the design of a sailboat to be breathtakingly elegant, both in how it creates and uses power (wind, solar, and petroleum) and how the living space is designed.

--I love the early parts of the trip best:  the arrival at the marina which feels like a home of sorts, since we've been going there so many years, the getting the supplies on board, and the sail out to the anchorage.  I love the first sunsets over the water--oh, I love every sunset and sunrise over the water!

--We had better weather than expected--no storms on Friday night and more wind on Monday.  The cool front came through, which meant cooler temps at night.

--I managed to sleep through the nights and into the morning.  Alas, this morning, it was back to early wakefulness.

--We had great food, which we always do.  And I found my current favorite wine, 19 Crimes, at the local beer and wine store, and for a better price than at Total Wine.

--When we first started our boat trips, I had trouble getting around on the boat.  For the past several trips, I've felt stronger and more agile.  Alas, on this trip, I had more aches (hips, feet, back), which made me feel less strong and agile.  I'm hoping that this, too, shall pass, that it's not just the other side of midlife starting to sink its painful claws into me.

--One of the benefits of these trips:  we meet so many people who are making a wide variety of lifestyle choices, which is liberating after being in the bubble of my academic setting for awhile.  It's also good to know how little I require for contentment:  a good book, good conversation, passable wine, tasty (but not expensive) food, fresh air--and I don't require every element to be present at the same time.

Now I shall return to work.  Like Congress, which also returns from summer recess (theirs is much longer than mine), there is much to be done in a very short period of time.

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