sailboat racing | Lake Ontario

It’s warm with a tempting breeze—the kind that beckons you toward refreshing water. Once again, it’s race time for the local sailors on Lake Ontario and they are in need of crew. Now in our 24th day of ongoing engine repair, Trent and I just happen to be available.

SILENT SENTINELS

The sun is dipping low on the horizon as we make our way on to the dock. The water laps softly beneath our feet as we tread past row after row of occupied boatslips. The surrounding schooners stand like silent sentinels, masts reaching skyward. It’s easy to feel insecure in this unfamiliar space. Yet I know that all that stands between the known and the unknown is the experience that lies before me.

sailboats lake ontario

BLUE LIQUID

A crew of six welcomes us aboard the Wind Thief. I’m given a brief tour before we shove off and make our way into the harbor. Once we near the starting point of our race, the motor is retired and the sails are hoisted heavenward. Like bees in a flower garden, the sailboats on the lake permeate the horizon, filling it with vertical sheets of white against a backdrop of blue liquid. Continue reading “sailboat racing | Lake Ontario”

learning to row | Hamilton, Ontario

A week ago I waited at the water’s edge, while Trent went sailing on his birthday. As I sat, a crew of rowers cascaded before me, bringing their boats to the lake. With practice and precision they launched their vessels and worked as one, stealthily gliding over the surface of the water. Observing their elegant movements, I longed to join them.

learning to row

ONE WEEK LATER:

I arrive, fresh and excited, the newest motivated member of the Hamilton Learn-to-Row class. My first lesson includes a 45-minute safety video, practice on an erg machine and time in the rowing tank. I imbibe* all that I can, taking notes and jotting down new rowing vocabulary. Meanwhile, two younger participants (whose parents have prompted their presence) jab each other in jest behind the instructors back.

learning to row

The following day I’m fifteen minutes early for class. When my rowing partner arrives, we warm up on the erg and prepare our equipment. Neither of us has any experience, which makes us equally unqualified for the task we are about to undertake. Cradling the boat upon our shoulders, we traverse the path to the loading docks. I glance to the left and see the grassy knoll where I sat one-week prior, dreaming of this very moment. As we push off from the dock, and drift away from shore, I realize that I’ve just crossed off a bucket-list item whose ink hardly had time to dry on the page. Continue reading “learning to row | Hamilton, Ontario”

our true home | celebrating Canada Day

Yesterday we’d hoped to be driving out of Canada. Instead, we are adjusting to the reality of a three-day delay in our truck repairs. Rather than searching for a place in Michigan to boondock for the night, we are in the unexpected position of attending Canada’s 150th anniversary celebration.

CANADA DAY

Today, July 1st, is Canada Day. Our RV neighbors sit outside sipping on beer with a Canadian flag emblazoned on the can while wearing red t-shirts with a large white maple leaf in the center. An “I Am Canadian” flag proudly stretches across the back of their RV. Fifty feet away, the juxtaposition* of our Idaho license plates make us the obvious imposters in the group.

Celebrating Canada Day Continue reading “our true home | celebrating Canada Day”

sitting in quiet surrender | somewhere in Ontario

Just West of Lake Ontario, our hazard lights blink-blink-blink as the freeway traffic rushes past us, sending the vehicles into small sideways rocking motions. The truck, whose engine has been whispering notions of discontent for the past few hundred miles, has acted like a toddler and erupted into a full-blown tantrum. We are perched like birds on the shoulder of the road.

Continue reading “sitting in quiet surrender | somewhere in Ontario”