Variations on the ‘last tack’

Sailing has sparked a fresh start in so many ways for this gal, who is standing up and cheering because her ship has come in.
I am happily involved as a budding member of the Rendezvous Yacht Club, and learning as much about life and myself as I am about the master art of sailing.
I have spent many years reading books and studying philosophies that revolve around the “power of now” and other modalities that harness my thinking into the moment at hand and away from the yesterdays and tomorrows and unknowns.
Learning to sail on Rainy Lake these past few weeks has done more for my focus on the present than all the books I’ve ever read—or ever will.
Wind can shape the land, shift the desert, move fires across forests, and drive you crazy when you are having a good hair day. Wind is both my teammate and my opponent, and is becoming a most intriguing source of study for me in watching the waves on the water.
When I’m out there on the lake and playing my small part in the warrior bid to sail, I find myself thinking back to the tall ships that brought our ancestors here to Canada from overseas and, oh, the long and arduous journey it must have been to harness the wind across the expanse of an ocean.
Our people must have jumped up and down to see land and the final leg of the voyage.
I am smitten by the freedom from worry that sailing brings to my heart and soul. And while the big ship adventures of the past intrigue me, I have yet to empathize with any joy those yesteryear passengers might have had in getting off the boat.
When I’m out there sailing, not one cell in my body wants to go home. My captain understands this. I suspect all sailing captains understand this.
My captain and I often have talked about the “last tack” that must occur before heading to shore, and how he often wants to put off coming about on that last tack as long as he can because he knows the world slowly will creep back in on him once he steps off the boat.
The reality is, of course, that we all have to get off the boat and back to our worlds. And each time I step off onto the dock, I try to do it with intention and not regret.
So far I am infused with such a sense of well-being when my foot hits the dock, I really can’t imagine not welcoming whatever is waiting for me.
Of course, I can say that now.
Recently in my neck of the woods, my intuition waved a red flag of caution in the seconds before I opened the porch door and my fear of the unknown was the reality I found in the porch.
What was that I wrote last week about dogs? “We (and me included) in our fear of the unknown could take a life lesson from a dog.”
“Note to Self” and “Dog Lesson #2”: Do not leave an anxious dog in the porch during a raging thunderstorm when you are away from home.
The doorframe into the house was in shreds, and the metal threshold and flooring were torn off at the landing into the kitchen. One dog looked guilty while the other one just sat there shifting his gaze back and forth, refusing to make eye contact with me.
I’ve often thought “Cash” was lacking a few brain cells, but that day he was smart enough not to look at me and the “Medusa” snakes emerging out of my hair when I saw all the damage his cohort had done trying to get herself in the house and away from the storm.
Right then I wanted to eat my copy of the book “Peace is Every Breath” by Thich Nhat Hanh in the hopes it would calm me down.
Thanks to my good Dad, and the inventor of wood filler, I think the door will recover.
I also think “Dot” is scarred for life in a storm, but if I ever need to get rescued out of a cave blocked by boulders, I’m sure that dog would qualify as the “jaws of life.”
I am amazed she still has teeth.
And life goes on. Here’s to another last tack and on to new horizons. My youngest offspring, whom I often forget is only on the cutting edge of 22, is off to greater adventures in southern Ontario prior to university start-up next month.
She is the epitome of a city-driven soul and the small-town life—no matter how fantastic it is for the rest of us—has never been in her blood.
Sail on, Heather!