The sailboats are racing this morning. The breeze is five to ten. (If you want that in knots, you'll have to convert it yourself.) Which means that "racing" is a generous description of what's going on out there. First, there was what seemed to be some drifting, then there was what looked a lot like milling. Eventually, they crossed the starting mark and took off (generous again) towards the west mark which is out of sight behind the harbor.
I see that the leaves of the Norway maple off the kitchen deck are stirring now, a little, so I guess they'll be coming back eventually. Maybe even putting on some serious speed, maybe with the big, colorful spinnakers deployed. On a windy, wavy day, sailboats race at a breakneck pace, slinging foam, skimming the water, canted scary low. Day like today, though, this racing could be considered the most boring thing in the world. Watching paint dry. All that.
Except. It's one of the world's most beautiful, most elemental sights. People have been unfurling sails to harness the sky since Egypt, 3500 BC. We know this because, according to Wikipedia, someone back then painted one on a vase. Wikipedia calls the sailboat "an instrument of civilization." (I call Wikipedia one of those, too. by the way.) In any case, we have often said that if sailboats didn't show up on their own, we'd gladly pay them to come by now and then. (I say that about gulls, too. If you only see gulls in the McDonald's parking lot, you're not really seeing gulls. I love their little brainless, soaring selves.)
When the guys from the yacht club motor out to take the marks down in the fall, my heart breaks just a little. Because I love the sailboat races, even when they go really, really slow.
June 14, 2009