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  • Betty Girardeau

A Time Warp

I need to start by saying that I don't particularly like boats or boating. Part of the reason is that I am not a good swimmer and have a fear of deep water. But the other reason is that boats in my lifetime, with the exception of canoes and row boats, are noisy, sometimes smelly, and are usually run too fast. I tend to think of being on the water as something you do leisurely and quietly, getting away from the noise and rush of the usual world and finding peace. I have written before about the wonderful schooner trip that my husband, older son, and I had in Maine in the summer of 2015. Those four days on the water in a boat only propelled by the winds in its sails are the exception to my feelings about boats and boating. We were blessed by perfect weather, which was a good thing because our days were spent totally topside. Our staterooms, if you can really call them that, were not much bigger than a shoe box filled mostly with the bunk and a tiny sink. Two people could not even dress or undress at the same time in the tiny amount of footpace that was left. The galley was fairly spacious in comparison, but it would have been difficult to seat our entire group in that space for a meal. So even our meals were served on the main deck. For the most part all our waking moments seemed to be spent in something akin to slow motion. No one bothered watching the clock. We just floated. Besides eating and an occasional foray to an island for a hike or, one evening, a lobster boil dinner, time was spent in conversation, reading, looking out for other other sailing vessels who had started their sail about the same time we did, or simply dreaming. One shipmate had brought along water color paints and spent many hours sketching and painting. Dawn and dusk were really special times, too. Dawn on the water allows you to especially sense the true awesomeness of what a new day really should mean, a "page" on which nothing has yet been written. The slow slipping away of that day at dusk provided ample time and reasons to appreciate the fact that you had been given another day to enjoy. I call these memories as living in a time warp because I think of earlier times as being slower than they have become now that we have fast cars, airplanes, boats, and technology that seeks to work at warp speed. For those living in former days, though, I expect that their lives did not seem to be particularly slow paced to them. Like us, they undoubtedly felt rushed to get things done, too, and wondered at the truth that "time flies." So what a blessing it is these days to be given the chance to spend some real time operating at a slower pace than what is our norm. When that happens you can get a better appreciation for what really matters in life. Slowing down can help you to be aware of all the little things that happen around you, like being able to take the time to watch a bird fly or a spider spin its web. And, most especially, it can be a humbling experience where you can see yourself as just part of a much bigger thing, another cog in the wheel perhaps, rather than the center of the universe. This year because of a pandemic we have been forced to slow down to a greater or lesser degree depending on our circumstances. But how many of us have embraced this slower schedule to see ourselves and the little things that make up our environment as all part of a much bigger whole than we have imagined? Let's not rush back to life as it used to be. Take this time now to recognize that this slower pace is really a gift. I can guarantee that if you do, all the new days ahead will be enriched.

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