Archive:  Year 3 - Monday, September 29, 2008 #29: "Falling"

It is unmistakably Fall.   The season has made her way into the marina like Hepburn on the red carpet.  For as long as I have been aware of seasons, this one has been my favorite.  It seems to hold the widest pendulum swing – the heartbreak of the fact that it is the doorway to winter; the heart-swell of a walk through crunching leaves.  The discomfort of my incessant Fall allergies, the unparalleled comfort of a soft blanket and a s’more by the fire... 

The trees have been noticeably turning from green to orange for a short while, but by this time next week they’ll be ablaze with color.  Saturday I took a boat ride through the locks into Minneapolis and it was like stepping through a portal.  Upriver of Lock #1, the trees are on a race to their full colors.  Some are already a full, bright red – every leaf – and they stand out like torches on the cliff.  Almost daily there is a small ‘V’ or two of geese getting a head-start on the big trip South.  Clever fowl.

I’ve rediscovered the fact that some of the things that I associate with Summer are actually best realized in the Fall.  Dozing in the hammock, for example, is far preferable to me when it’s 65 and there is a slight breeze, than when it’s 95 and you can hear your skin sizzle. 

Similarly, a run along the river this time of year feels entirely enchanting.  This morning Gracie and I went for a particularly ambitious 6-mile run through the grounds of Fort Snelling.  The sun was shining brightly, although the temperature had barely crested 60, and there was a subtle breeze that tipped the scales to perfection.  Even Grace seemed to recognize the subtle improvements to our environment – the hot-hot heat not bouncing of the pavement and baking her belly…  

It is these such idle, pleasant afternoons that I will feast on in February.

Which is why I’m trying to be fully in Fall and not get swept up in what it will inevitably usher in.  Yes, one boat has already been winterized and shrink-wrapped; yes, a few more boats a day are hauled out from the launch before my bow – scrubbed clean for their season on land… Can’t miss it.  

The truth is, however, I cannot help but find myself pulled into a sickly anticipation of Winter.  It has spooked me this time.  Granted, there was a certain amount of bliss in the ignorance of just how desperate it can get down here.  But with two winters now under my belt, such ignorance is past.  I KNOW how desperate it can get down here – when the sun has set by 5PM, the pipes are frozen, and you’re up in the night to crack ice from around the hull… And even with the furnace and the anticipated improvements of a bilge-heater, I catch myself shuddering.  

And yet… 

Winter in the marina is magical.  The seasonal boaters leave and their vessels sit like tombstones along the driveway – names scratched in red marker on their wrappings.  The fires burn hotter and higher at the firepit, and the coyotes and deer begin their dance again.  

I’m thinking of starting a regular poker game for the live-aboards.  Maybe on land in the compound, maybe we take turns hosting.  A chance to swap stories, bolster each others’ courage, drink to excess, and generally stay afloat.  

Good advice for everyone these days.

Next Post: October 25, 2008 #30: "Safe Harbor"

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