Never mind the storm that had come through the day before and the storm that was, at that moment, headed toward Boston. Boston air was quiet beneath a tarnished dark silver sky. I wanted to go sailing. No one in my family wanted to go.
“It’s raining and there’s no wind,” they observed.
On my way to the boathouse, I called the dock master and asked, “Are we sailing?”
“Yes,” she replied. “We see no thunder on the radar.”
“Is there any wind?”
“Light wind… possibly,” came the reply.
“Good enough for me,” I thought. I was eager to sail.
After I signed in, I asked the dock master, “If I get stuck out there, will you come and get me?“
“No rescues today,” she replied.
“May I take a paddle, then?”
“Are you worried?” She looked at me as if I were daft.
I picked out a black paddleboard paddle and headed to the boat. Pre-sail preparations complete, I pushed off and… not a leaf was stirring.
So, tiller between my knees, I stood up, put the paddle over the side, and stroked around the end of the barrier island to the middle of the Charles, just west of the Longfellow Bridge, stopping dead center of the river, 200 yards out. I sat down and waited, scanning the water for any hint of movement.
After sitting perfectly still for about 20 minutes, wishing for wind, I sniffed just the lightest breath of air. Elated, I turned the boat to catch it. Possibly, I went 30 yards, making just enough way that, as the sail fell silent again, I could come about toward the dock. There were four other boats on the water, all of us sitting dead still.
I stood up, again, and, tiller between my knees, paddled the two hundred yards back to the dock.
“How was the sail?”, the dock master asked (with an unbelievably straight face). Being a guest and a member, I tempered my response.
“Great!,” I beamed. “Thank you, it was wonderful to be out on the water.” Translated: “I’m wet, there was no wind, that was a waste.
Which brings to mind the adage: “If we want to be successful in sails, it’s best to sail where there’s wind rather than where we wish there were.”
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