Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Leaving Wind

As fortune would have it, last week the air-conditioning stopped working in our house here in town. Since it is already hot here--high 80s in the afternoons for about five days in the row--we simply HAD to drive out to our redneck camp on the Bend of the River. This is the time of year when final exams hit and the yard in town needs a ton of TLC, and then there is the pressure washing away of the winter's dirt, etc. etc. etc. We threw some jeans in a bag, remembered to load up the dog, and left the fertilizing of the roses and planting of the impatiens for another day. Or perhaps even another life if the truth be known. Once we pull into that long driveway leading down to the river and close the chain behind us, time expands at exactly the same rate that it contracts when we are anywhere else.

So what do we do there? Well, for starters I read alot. And cook, which means pouring over very good cookbooks. Then there is the swing that faces the sunset every afternoon on the long screened porch. I like to write in that swing. It's the same swing I sit in when my husband decides the wind is strong enough to windsurf. He likes an audience, someone to admire the fact that although his hair is mostly gray, he is still agile and has great balance. The dog and I sit there and watch his good fast rides, the way the board splits the water, the million dollar smile on his face we can see from halfway across the lake.

Windsurfing seems like a fairly anti-intellectual activity. There's a board, a sail, a fin to keep you from slipping around too much on the surface of the water. Actually, there are MANY boards, and MANY sails, and MANY fins. And wetsuits, drysuits, water shoes, gloves, etc. It takes more gear than one might realize in order to windsurf. But then there is some intellectual Zen mental activity, too. Here again, more than one might think.

Such as the first cardinal rule of windsurfing: Don't leave wind to find wind. I think we first heard this about twenty years ago on the Outer Banks. People used to go there to surf the Canadian Hole, the ocean, the Sound. There was the angle of the wind to consider. Would it be best to be at Avon or around the Hatteras bend at Ocracoke? Where was it blowing the hardest? So many decisions! So much wind! We were on the Atlantic side, sitting up near the dunes, when my husband wondered out loud "Where should we go?" before he verbally recited the list. Where would be The Very Best Place to be right now: that was what he wondered. That's when someone turned to him who had just had a great little run and smiled. "Don't leave wind to find wind." Since then we have heard this wisdom at more than one windsurfing destination. Whether on the Tennessee River in North Alabama or sitting in a beach park on Maui, when windsurfers begin wondering about greener wind pastures, as long as there is enough wind to fill a sail and push a board, someone will smile and repeat the refrain. "Don't leave wind to find wind."

There is at least one dab of wisdom involved in being in the present tense, making the best of the hand you've been dealt, willing to be happy where you've landed.

After five or so days---who was counting?--we came back into town to check the AC. Someone had flipped the wrong switch under the house in turning on the sump pump. One tiny flick of a finger and we were back in the AC business.

On the drive back into town, my husband had said "As long as the wind was blowing, who cared if there was AC?"

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