Monday, December 31, 2007


As I paddled toward Brown's Point this morning, I saw flashing red lights outside a house in the neighborhood on the hill to the east. A minute later, I heard the scream of a siren and another vehicle, this time a fire engine, pulled up behind the one that was already there. It was a medical emergency of some kind and it was probably pretty serious. I couldn't help thinking that someone's day wasn't starting out as well as mine was.

The last day of the year. Every year seems to go quicker than the ones that came before. Time gets more and more compressed and the weight of gathering age starts to get heavier.

When you're paddling at night, it's hard to guage distance and speed very accurately. Especially when crossing open water. Sometimes I'll set my course on a light that is 2 or 3 miles away and it seems like, even though I paddle strong, the light doesn't get any closer. If there is wind or a swell of any size, the time seems stretched even further. I can go and go, and still not seem to get any closer. And then, all of a sudden, I'm there. The light I have been steering toward is no longer a distant glow, it's right there in front of me. Suddenly.

I leave in 2 weeks. That is an astonishingly short amount of time. My departure date has been like that light far across the water. I have been approaching it all the time, but I didn't seem to be getting any closer until now, all of a sudden, it is looming right in front of me. Two weeks. It will go very quickly.