Live All You Can!

“Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that, what have you had?” (Henry James in The Ambassadors)

If I had one piece of advice to share with others, it would be something like the above. For the first time ever, this summer we crossed Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in a sailboat. Checking the distance, it may not seem like much, but anyone who knows anything about the Great Lakes knows that waves, wind, weather and boating conditions can be unpredictable out there! We spent hours with no land in sight, only blue, varying shades of blue, and deep (up to eight hundred feet) cerulean water. As Captain Ron from Forrest Gump said, “If anything is going to happen, it’s going to happen out there!” Just when we set autopilot pointed toward our destination, we found there was no time for anything but complete vigilance. We quickly turned off “Steady Eddy” the auto pilot as we found ourselves weaving around fishing nets set by the American Indians who have been granted lifetime rights to set them out– nets with buoys that are often difficult to see and would rend a boat in- operable if the lines got caught on the propeller of an unsuspecting boat. Moments of stress crept in. But these were short lived, not directed at the Indians, and reminded us to pay attention.

We were able to capture time to listen to music, dance on the deck, moon the Russian satellites (when we thought we saw one). ” Take THIS Putin!” I laughed so hard my stomach hurt watching my husband do his skeleton dance with abandon on the front deck as we swooshed through the azure frothing fresh water! He loves to see me laugh and so he just keeps up the theatrics until I can’t breathe. I later brought out my Little Zen Companion book by David Schiller, just to keep him in check with deeper intellectual pursuits. He said it was all “crap!” Reminded me of when Mom and I tried to keep the Boy Scouts on task with a cool project when they wanted nothing more than to run and climb the nearby trees! Impossible.

In the search for adventure, there will be moments of stress, distress, and perhaps even injury. As we were disembarking from Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, my husband smacked his foot on a dock cleat. He wasn’t wearing any shoes, and it ended up being quite a slice between the big toe and second toe. Our departure took place in the early morning hours and all the mariners of Egg Harbor were treated to a litany of expletives when this occurred. As I arranged and re-arranged the bow lines for our next marina arrival, I saw several concerned wayfarers looking our way as we left the marina…

After Egg Harbor, Sturgeon Bay marina became a return port of call on our homeward journey. At this point the Captain stated that he felt quite sure he needed medical attention for his injury. He wanted to show me, but medical support is not on my list of skills–I am first mate, swabby, and galley queen, but I don’t do injuries well at all. So we headed to the marina office and were given a pamphlet with bathroom codes, emergency numbers, transit companies. We tried four different ways to line up transportation to no avail. So there’s always Uber or Lyft. But, as my husband said, Sturgeon Bay is a town where those who need to get anywhere evidently own their own vehicles because there is no such service as Uber or Lyft! We realized we had no option but to get on our bikes and ride four miles (up hill it turned out) to the nearest medical clinic. Five stitches later, we at least stopped on the downhill return trip to eat something, and biked our way back to the boat. So things can happen here and there when you’re off the couch.

But get off the couch we must in order to enjoy life to the fullest! It passes so quickly and moments are for the taking–we can’t capture time and stay in one place, though it seems like it sometimes. We keep on trekking around the sun and we only get so many treks…

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