Monday, February 28, 2011

I'd Rather Feel The Earth Beneath My Feet

Another post on the subject of navigation, this one from Mojo...

Open Water

On Friday mornings in the summer, there has been for some years a small (but now rather larger) group that gathers informally at 6:00 at Greenwich (Tod’s) Point on the Long Island Sound, as the sun is rising on the eastern facing beach, for a swim of approx. 1.5 miles to herald the coming weekend.

It’s often a swim along the beach at a fair distance from the shore, or out (and back) to the channel buoy further out in the Sound, where the strong currents become an obvious and occasionally hazardous navigational factor.

Did I mention navigation?

… right, but the point of this post (rather a faux post, since the writer is blog-less) is about one particular swim (perhaps July 2007?) when we jumped in for the annual 3 mile swim from John Cook’s dock on Stamford Cove to Tod’s Point.

On a bright sunny morning, this is a delightful swim out of the harbor and out across the Sound, usually within a half-mile of the coast. While the water that morning was dead flat (good), it was certainly not bright and sunny, and the loud but muffled fog horn blasts were annoying intrusions to our pre- caffeinated state.

We were only a group of six that day, and we jumped in feeling confident in our well-worn wetsuits with their added buoyancy—and protection from the jellyfish.

It was looking quite manageable when we set out—how hard could it be to swim closer to the coastline?—until the heavy stuff rolled in about a mile into the swim. Complete white-out, curtain down.

(Ref. O Docker’s seminal Gorilla in the Mist post.)

It is one thing to be on a vessel in that terrifying situation, and quite another to be the floating vessel itself. Separated from your equally isolated mates by untold yards that seemed like miles, with no clue in which direction you are (still) swimming—just to go somewhere!

And I had a train to catch to get to work that morning!! Oh, and see my wife and daughters again.

For the next mile (20-25 mins.) I swam by gut instinct (like Bonnie’s blind paddling) toward what I hoped was land, as well as the periodic audible reckonings from my equally lost mates

Picking up on Ishmael’s story, I felt like rather like Pip, left overboard and out of sight on the boundless ocean: “The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes…”

… could this be the Proper Course?

No worries on leakage in(to) the warm wetsuit, though, as the Sphinx was holding tight.

And then the fog started to thin as the morning advanced. One barely discernible shore marking, and then another. Swimming now with a purpose and a line.

Sand on the feet at last!

Home before the girls had even awakened. Hot pot of coffee in the kitchen.

“How was your swim, dear?”

“Very flat water.”


Baydog said...

Shall we go for some "everythings" and a tub of cream cheese? I believe there's still some gravlax left and maybe some chicken liver.

For some reason, the ending seemed way too familiar.

I love that dude.

Mojo said...

That would be lox of fun, Baydog-- not having to wait undill Thanksgiving!

You're flying solo with the chicken liver, though.

WV: tantill ...izing!

bonnie said...

Nice understatement!

bonnie said...

mmm, chicken liver...

Mojo said...

Bonnie - Baydog is describing his favored breakfast palliative for the recidivist vinous indulgence on Thanksgiving Day (morning>afternoon>evening).

Slice in half (the long way) a warm, fresh everything bagel. Apply a generous "schmeah" of cream cheese on one half, and chicken liver on the other (where I demur). Place a slice or two of leftover gravlax between them, garnishing with shaved red onion and capers. Devour. Repeat.

Wait a minute, folks... this is Proper Course, isn't it?

This thread is on the wrong blog!

Smack in the middle of a deadly serious and competitive group writing project, no less!!

... where the stakes couldn't be higher.

Does this mean a protest may be filed?

Tillerman said...

Mojo, don't worry. The only rule that applies to comments on Proper Course is the "O Docker Rule" which states that no comment must have any relevance to the topic of the original post.

So discussion of Thanksgiving breakfast is perfectly appropriate in comments to a post entered in a deadly serious and competitive group writing project about navigation.

Mojo said...

Yes of course, Tillerman, how comforting. Thanks for reminding me.

I think it's actually one of the Commandments: "You shall not commit relevancy."

While we're on the topic, my eye was also drawn to the last Commandment: "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor, including his Catalina 30".

Weird, huh?

And I should have been more clear on Baydog's breakfast. He craves it the morning after Thanksgiving (when, oddly, his head has apparently become two sizes too small for his brain.)

WV: scarres... me for life

O Docker said...

I think most of my comments are in some way relevant to the topic of the original post.

Most posts here, though, are so rich that they may be interpreted in many different ways.

Some see the bagel in a post, some the gravlax, and some the chicken liver.

bonnie said...

don't forget the capers!

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