As I daydream about a possible build of N.E.D., the Nesting Expedition Dinghy, this is what comes to mind. This is my daydream… and someday it will happen.
Floating a few dozen yards off-shore, I considered how to make the first landing of my trIp. Above me, a gentle slope of sandstone covered with a web of massive cracks, all worn smooth by the constant lapping and crashing of waves. A welcoming sight. Getting ashore shouldn’t be too difficult. Six feet up from the water rock gave way to a few dozen species of fern, wind tattered bushes and bramble, all just beginning their early fall transition from green to a strikingly broad palette of tans, yellows, and browns. There was a deer trail winding into the woods.
I wasn’t going ashore to set up camp, as I’d be sleeping aboard, but I really needed time outside the boat. Six hours of sailing in my ten foot long by 42-inch wide sailing dinghy was enough. N.E.D, my Chesapeake Light Craft designed Nesting Expedition Dinghy. Comfortable, but a walk would some some good.
I need this adventure, an antidote to my increasing sense of age and mortality. Today marked the 35th anniversary of my father’s death at the age of 62. I’ve outlived him for a handful of months now. I feel the impact deeply. After his heart attack, he’d lingered on for a handful of days, waking up just before death with a look of surprise, fear and sadness. Those final moments haunt me to this day, unsure of exactly what my somewhat domineering father had in mind. While alive he’d never have admitted to anything other than strength. He was our rock… and then he died. A few days later I shared with a sister what I’d observed in my father’s eyes. “I wish you hadn’t told me that”, she told me, then turned away.
Over this past year I’ve lost some friends. Robert, a fellow boat nut. Tom, a friend through my career in radio. Teresa, a good friend from my wife’s church. Bob, a sister’s husband. Those were just the close friends, all within a handful of years of me.
Time to act.
I need to feel sure I am using my remaining years wisely, reassure myself that I’m not wasting time, literally. No re-runs of Three’s Company, of course, but it’s more than that. It’s adventure. For decades I’ve dreamed of solo boat journies. The time has come. Now I am making the first landfall of a planned one month tour in a ten-foot sailboat.
This is what it feels like to be fully mindful of the moment, awake to all my senses, living a life-long dream.
I nudge the boat against the rocks and step out. Yes, this place will do nicely.