When I was 6 and we moved to Colorado, we pretended we were westerners for a little while and took horseback riding lessons. There was a corral in town, which was confusing to me because coming from my particular family, I only knew about chorales.
The first ride I went on was with Pine, a sap-colored horse that was big and slow and some kind of Zen master. I remember Pine because we spent a lot of time alone, just standing there on the trail, waiting for the rest of the riding party to finish their ride. Early in each ride, Pine would stop to smell the roses and I was not capable of either kicking him (pacifist!) or shouting for help (shy!). So we stood around a lot, just being.
Pine was far more Zen than I, and I ended up going to riding lessons with a great deal of anxiety about whether or not my horse would go.
I was reminded of this at today's sailing lesson, as I was shuttled by Boston Whaler out to Mr. Bill (my little sailboat). Today was the day they let us float away from our moorings and try our hand at making those boats go back and forth between two buoys. Still not totally grasping the concepts of wind direction and tack and so forth, all I could think was, how do I make this thing go?
Lucky for me, the people in charge of the Boston Whalers adore my sailing buddy and were not about to let us sit watching the birds while the rest of the group trotted along ahead. They coached us through getting off the mooring. And then? And then we were sailing. And it was almost like flying. My sailing buddy, who I think we should call Mrs. Thurston Howell III, did an admirable job steering while I flapped around up front. We went back and forth and back and forth between those buoys, adding some decorative loop-de-loops that were not necessarily intentional.
It was very fun and we wished our husbands had been there, standing slack-jawed on the dock, in total awe of our sailing prowess.
And then we were glad they weren't, because it was time to get back to the mooring and while it made sense on a dry-erase board, it was completely impossible in practice. We approached the mooring in what can only be called a circular path. For reasons we have yet to understand, we can only turn the boat counter-clockwise. Which is not a nautical term. So we sailed in counter-clockwise circles, getting closer and closer to the mooring, when finally the nice people in the Whaler came by and coached us in. And when that failed, they nudged us in. And then they went to the bar.
We are the reason sailing clubs have bars, btw.
We rolled up our sails, high-fived, and pinky-swore that no matter what happened, we would still be friends.
And for the record? I think we'd both be fine hanging out on the water with Mr. Bill, while the others trotted on ahead. We're pretty Zen when it comes to sailing.