“…And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.” – John F. Kennedy, Jr., 1962
In the back of my mind, there is this quote I once heard about being lost and going back to the beginning. Maybe that’s why it made sense to me to stop running at a hundred miles an hour and take a little time to put some salt water between me and the ground I was running on. When the to-do list activity turned up 100+ items, I made sure to create a special to-do list. The one called “fun things to do someday.”
And in the last week or so, I made progress on two. First I tried stand up paddle boarding, or SUP. In Annapolis, our friends at Annapolis Canoe and Kayak offer up a little gathering on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Here’s what you need to know for the first-timers: they are kind to newbies and if you don’t have your own gear – they will rent it out to you for the duration of the outing for $30.
So the running joke was how many times I, she who walks better in heels than in flats and manages to trip over nothing, was going to end up in the drink. The count – ZERO. I have witnesses. Seriously I ended up on a less responsive (read that “tippy” ) board that was actually suitable for yoga. (hmmmm, something to consider next…)
There wasn’t really a lesson as the whole thing is quite simple: find your balance, stand up, paddle. It had been two weeks since I had seen the inside of the gym, so I thought for sure my arms were going to be sore the next day. And actually no, they were fine. Because you actually end up using more of your core muscles my arms felt fine.
My legs on the other hand – my calves were sore for days. The reason: I need to learn to relax. I was so nervous about falling, I spent too much effort focusing on balance. But for an hour and a half I paddled happily, chatting and enjoying Spa Cree and rejoicing that I didn’t fall off in front of Pussers during happy hour. Definitely going to sign up again and recommend even those who are “coordinationally challenged” to give it a try.
Then a few days later, I finally got to try out sailing. Yes, yes I know I lived in the area nearly all my life and had never been sailing until now. My weekend for the Annapolis Community Boating FreeSail finally came up. My purpose was two fold: one, after missing all the events last year and having to reschedule once this year, I can say that I did it; and two – I wanted to see if sailing was something I could really enjoy as something more than a passenger.
Two hours later on a J-24 (now feeling all the more knowledgeable that the number behind the J referred to the length of the boat) – I had learned enough of the basics to say yes, I’m pretty sure I want to learn more. After watching Will, our 20 year-old “instructor”, and Bryan, the poor guy who got dragged along by another lady, really develop a rhythm, it seemed to me that being just a passenger, while fun, was not the spot I’d like to be in. So next summer’s to-do list – learn more and make room in the budget for an ACB membership to make it happen.
Grateful for beautiful views and kind people who are willing to share their love of the water…
“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea” – Isak Dinesen