The two of us climb into the boat, its gleaming white hull so shiny, polished, seated in the back.. peering ahead at the bow quite far away. The bits of chrome fittings sparkling in their brilliance The little outboard sputters as it is started, it seems to be a small motor for such a long boat.. but it is moving.. backing slowly away from the dock. The boat starting to rock side to side quickly, it is a windy day, we can see the frothy white water coming around the point, backing the boat slowly in a circle.. facing the bow to that cauldron of boiling water.
It looks angry. Almost ugly.
There are caps of white frothy water curling atop each wave, waving to us in the wind, the spray dancing above, taunting us, looking at our boat, seeming to laugh as it rocks in the calm water we are in now.
The water is calm here, swirling a bit as the rough water pounds by.. reaching for us. The boat seems to sense it.. it is like it is awakening. There is life in it, a vibration almost.
Well away from the dock now, closer to the angry water the motor stops.. oh there are no panicked looks.. it was suppose to.. see.. pointing to the off button.. it was pressed.. not to worry. Quickly tilting the motor up, we don’t want it to drag in the water, the narrow boat will be hard to steer if that happens.
Steer? with the motor out of the water….
Cranking a wheel quickly now, watching a billowing cloud emerge in the bow, climbing higher.. flapping and snapping as it comes to life. The boat starts to move forward, feeling its way.
Time to hold on to the tiller now, tightly.. watching as the bow seeks the stormy water, the cloud filling into a gentle curve, swelling with pride as the boat stops rocking.. moving faster…. forward.. toward the water that is dancing, waiting for us, challenging us to approach.
A second wheel awakens another cloud.. closer.. larger.. right over our heads, it quickly shoots up, the snapping much louder as the rings climb the long mast, the tiller becoming firmer in my grip. The boat is alive.
The white water is moving beside us now, we seem to be making it, oh we are.. ripples become waves running along side us as the second cloud fills. The boat starts its own dance, mocking the angry water, issuing its own challenge.
Ducking quickly as a long beam swings overhead, the tiller hard to the right.. starboard.. we need to be nautical. It is easy to remember, port is left, four letters for left and for port..
The rope holding the beam.. (well it is a boom.. so we need to name that right too).. tightens holding the boom in place, the mighty cloud is full the boat leaps into the frothy water, but it is in command, its element, happy.. it charges.. free… The angry water is nothing, the boat scoffs at it, its deep keel slicing through it, stable, charging forward like a horse galloping in a meadow.
The long bow crisply cuts through the waves, splashing us with the warm water, our hair is blowing back, smiles are embedded deeply as we start to laugh.. speed.. and no motor noises, just the wind, the crackles of the sails…
smiles.. I have never sailed.. I think I want to though, I am sure it is like this.. the power over nature, melding with it, harnessing its fierce power.