I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.
~ Henry David Thoreau
A couple weeks ago, I found myself at a place I consider more home than the house where I grew up. In that place, there is a rocky beach and access to a large swath of the upper Chesapeake Bay.
Believe me when I say that I know how lucky I am to have that place. I do not think I would be who I am without it. I doubt sincerely that I would be here at all.
When I first came to that place, I quickly earned the nickname “Mouse.” At eight, I was very small indeed. I did not speak much, and when I did, it was quietly. And I was afraid of everything.
A couple things happened over the course of many years to change Mouse into me. One of those was that someone showed me how to sail a small dinghy, called a sunfish. They did not *take* me sailing. I was not crew. After teaching me the basics on a larger boat, they put a tiller in my right hand and a mainsheet in my left and the sent me across the water on a calm summer day. (more…)