AT THE HELM
VOLUME XVIII, No. 6, DECEMBER 2012
BARK IF YOU LOVE BOATING!
ON A SUNDAY in October, my husband Steve and I, and 4-year-old Henry,
the very mixed-breed dog we adopted from the SPCA, splashed our Zodiac
21-foot center console and went for a ride up the Severn River in Annapolis,
Maryland. It was one of those days when you have a long list of things to do
at home, yet the pull of getting out on the water keeps tugging at you, until
you succumb and realize it’s time to forget it all and get on your boat.
Once on the river, our senses were on overload as we motored in the light
breeze. A gray wintery sky contrasted with the bronze, orange, yellow, and
lime-green trees of the shoreline. It was cold, and I zipped my winter jacket up
to my chin, and pulled my fuzzy fleece hat over my ears. I loved that we were
squeezing every last ounce out of the boating season, and secretly not wanting
to acknowledge it aloud — for fear it might be
true — I knew it might be our last motorboat
trip of the year.
There weren’t many other folks out.
We saw a wakeboarder enjoying some extra
maneuvering room. We were on the landing
path of a great blue heron, its gawky long
legs streaming out like chopsticks, until its
last-minute awkward landing on a dock. And
when a motorboat the size of ours approached
from our port quarter, Henry manned his
post, front paws over the port inflatable tube,
wagging and barking at the couple as if to say
“hi”. In a hilarious moment of connection
with these total strangers, the couple barked
back! We all burst out laughing.
As I look forward to next spring, or when
my mind drifts to precious memories from
past boating seasons, it’s this kind of spontaneous moment of pure joy, on this
kind of recaptured day, that helps define the magic of boating for me – and
probably for most of us. Years from now, none of us will remember the weekend
chores we got done instead of getting out on the water. But the memories from
what my family likes to call “water therapy” — where we take our troubles to
the boat, and let the breeze and the water air out our souls — those are the
simple memories that make us bark with happiness long after the season ends.
Henry stands guard over
the family dinghy.
CHAIRMAN, PUBLISHER, FOUNDER
Margaret Bonds Podlich
CONSULTING EDITORIAL DIREC TOR
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Margaret Bonds Podlich
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