Tuesday, June 22, 2010
In the book, The Wind in the Willows, Water Rat said, “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
From hoisting the sails, to lowering the centerboard, to casting off, tacking and trimming the sails is there anything more life affirming than moving with the wind? Next to the feeling of moving quickly across snow, there’s nothing that strikes my fancy quite like the feeling of being on the water and holding the main sheet and feeling the power of mother nature in my hand.
This is where sailing, and sharing it with others, comes in. I had the absolute privilege of taking young and old, disabled and abled, homeless and sheltered, privileged and not, out on the waters of Big Lake on board the 24ft Winsome of the Alaska Sailing Club. It’s been two weeks of sharing the gift of the “zen” of sailing with others. It didn’t matter if the sun was shining or the clouds were covering, each group I sailed with came to the adventure with open hearts and a spirit of play. Each person left with a sense of peace and the knowledge that he/she could hold the main sheet and tiller and move forward through smooth waters or choppy waves. Sailing is a perfect metaphor for life. Hold on tight, keep your eyes forward, be aware of your surroundings and stay ever present in the moment.
I owe special thanks to the Alaska Sailing Club, and especially Dave Johnson (past commodore) for seeing my potential as sailing instructor and for helping me find a way to sail at the club. In addition I have gratitude for the organizations that participated in this year’s sailing adventures – Challenge Alaska, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire and Covenant House. Watching your faces, hearing your laughter and squeals and seeing each of you embrace the opportunity caused my heart to find some moments of peace. For that I am thankful. Lastly, my greatest thanks goes to my father for teaching me the “zen” of sailing and for setting an example of finding one’s passion and living it.