The wind was blowing so hard, it relocated a few of my freckles. Sailors would say something like, “It was gusting at 30 knots,” but I’m not a sailor. I’m a sinker.
That’s what made everyone so nervous.
I stood on the rocks at the water’s edge and contemplated my fate. I was scared. I knew the water was cold. We’re in the south, but barely. We’re dangling across that Mason-Dixon line by a string of fishing wire. The great divide between unsweetened tea and sweet tea is only twenty miles up the road.
John bought me a paddle board for Christmas. He drove half-way around the world and back to get a good deal, and I was truly surprised on Christmas morning.
“Why were you surprised?” asked my mother. “You’ve been talking about a paddle board for the past six months.”
I’m old enough to know my world of wishing doesn’t always collide with this world of reality, but on this Christmas morning, it did.
December 27, 2015: The day of my maiden voyage.
I had to get in the water. Two families from church were on their way down to the beach to see me sink or swim. They were my cheering team – encouragers – the peanut gallery.
My kids stood by wondering if mom was going to be brave. I’m glad bravery is different from fearlessness.
I put my board in the water and waded in.
To my surprise, it wasn’t very cold. I’m used to living in places where you have two minutes after the splash of your body hitting the water before cryonics begins.
I spent most of Christmas morning watching instructional YouTube videos, so I knew I should get on the board kneeling and then transition to standing when the board was moving.
I began paddling. The usually calm bay had little waves that were coming up over the edges of my board, but I was too focused on paddling to care about sinking at that point. I had the wind at my back and I was moving.
I made it across a pool of water onto a sandy portion of beach, and I was pretty proud of myself. Balancing, much like cooking, is not one of my specialties. I turned the board around to start back, but the wind was too strong. I fought a good fight, but ended up stuck in the tall grass.
My family fished me out.
Next time I’ll go when the water is calmer, and the wind is reduced to a gentle southerly breeze, but I count every moment of my maiden voyage a success.
Someone left this comment on my Instagram picture:
Brave! Adventurous! Cool.
If you could have been there on the beach with me, you’d know I was every bit nervous, fumbling, and weak, but I’d like to think that somewhere on the inside, I was being just a little bit brave adventurous, and cool.
For me, that’s a good way to end 2015.
Happy New Year friends.