Raise the sails and let go

By the time you read this in the newspaper on June 17, I will have left the dock on my own boat, raised sails by myself, and used the wind as my journeyman.
That most awesome event happened after work last night (June 16).
But I’m writing this on June 15 (for deadline purposes) and only can imagine, in my wordy mind, what it will be like to be in the moment I’ve dreamt about since February.
My column on June 3 talked about fear, and how it grows like a fungus and covers up all the good stuff. It kills joy and pleasure and excitement. And even after I talked about facing it, fear still stood there before me—trying to convince me I couldn’t do this thing.
On June 7, knowing full well I was booked with sailing friends to put my boat in the water the following evening, I grappled with my fear.
As I smoothed out the air bubbles from the vinyl font signage of “Scout,” set in deep blue sticky lettering on the side of my boat, I started to cry from my fear.
As I peeled off the paper liner, fretting my “what ifs,” I thought about my Grampa Caldwell and how much fear he must have had facing the horrors of war in those filthy, soggy trenches in France during World War I.
By the time the paper was peeled away to reveal “Scout,” I had closed the door on my fear. If he could find the courage in a real war, I could sail my boat.
Piece of cake.
On June 8, with a lot of help from my sailing mates, “Scout” happily was launched in a lovely little bay not far from here. My friends helped me raise her mast and we all watched proudly as she shape-shifted, stretched out, and settled in—tied to a dock in the buoyant blue of “Rainy Lake.”
Piece of cake.
On June 11, my sailing friend taught me how to put the main sail on. Piece of cake.
Then on June 12, after stocking “Scout” with everything I needed to escape the trappings of land and sail off into the great unknown, I spent the first night ever on my own sailboat, tied to the dock where she’d been launched.
It was a heavenly piece of cake, for sure.
That evening, I watched “Captain Weekend” videos on “YouTube” and learned how to hook up my new marine deep cycle battery. Channelling “Red Green,” I used aluminum foil and duct tape to cover my cabin windows. Worked great.
Piece of cake.
Friends stopped by and helped get “Evin,” my little 6 h.p. motor started, took me out for a “motor only” trek around the bay, and gave me lessons on how to dock again without smashing my bow into the cement pillars (that piece of cake is reserved for the first time I do it alone).
Yes, by the time you read this, I will have raised her sails and done the thing I have feared the most—and I will have had so much fun that I won’t ever be the same woman again.
Letting go is not a piece of cake. But once I get there, it will feel like a million bucks.

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