All Hallow’s Eve

When I get on the boat in these late fall days, it is not for the pleasure of being on the water.  Though that is always there, it’s too cold to expand into the surroundings.  And it is not for the privacy of getting away, though the feeling of freedom always accompanies the touch of my shoe to the deck.  After summer, I get on the boat for exercise.

Today is Halloween, and later I will carve pumpkins, not because we actually have any trick-or-treaters, but just because I love carving pumpkins, and later I will write that email, and still later I will curl around my beloved, but right now it’s exercise time.

A bit of danger time too – with everything cold, a failure is more likely – contracted metal pulling out of the deck or cracking with fatigue to zing into the air – hope it’s not into me.  With the high winds, the margin for error in navigation is reduced.  It takes but a minute for a steering error to be compounded into an onshore rush that cannot be stopped, even with the engine.

The wind is singing in the rigging even before I get everything ready – lines coiled, main up, everything else tucked in.  After I let go the anchor road and mooring pennant, there is a sudden whoosh and we are sailing across the harbor ‘on my ass’, as they say.

Alone on the 35’ yawl, I am in constant motion.  If you made me do this at the gym, I would complain, but here it is pure pleasure.  At least with long silk underwear and a down jacket my middle is all warm.  The danger of something going wrong at any moment adds to the adrenalin excitement.  The boat is over on its edge most of the time, white water pouring in over the coaming when a gust hits, with me standing on the side of the cockpit for seconds at a time while I wait for it to right itself.

The trees on the shore are all rust now; only the evergreens are still carbonizing, the deciduous are all oxidized – how many days until I simply must take it down to be hauled out for the winter?  I hate to say goodbye for another year to my good, good friend – we’ve traveled more than a thousand nautical miles together this season.  If I wait too long, a really bad storm will come in and damage her, if I go down too early, I kick myself every sunny pleasant day after that.

But for two seasons – early spring and late autumn – sailing is pure exercise: muscular, multivectorial, using long chain movements originated in the core, and with periods of rest between the spasms of abject terror – all right out of the book for Fascial Fitness.

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