The Season is Over!

…..laying in bed, musing….time ticks slowly by….730, 8AM….IT’S TRULY OVER!….no more vaulting out of bed in the darkness, driven by curiosity about wind, temperature, and the thousand variables of ice….no more spending whole days in sweaty, clammy wetsuits and float jackets, heaving heavy gear around, driving here and there….worrying endlessly about ice thickness, drain holes, too much or too little wind, boat collisions, or of ironing out the wrinkles of social interdependence in this intense and dangerous hobby.

no more coming home with faces, pink with wind-burn, tense with ice glare, to begin the witches brew of pain killers which might permit a fitful night’s sleep….nursing this shoulder, that elbow, neck, …and especially toes burning with whatever makes them crimp and burn. why, why, why do we do this crazy thing?

…..we do it for…..yesterday……..yes…….my writing slows…….in that quieting, almost holy remembrance…….yesterday on Twin Lakes Millinocket…..and because of that i know….. we’ll keep doing this until–like Stu Nelson–life finally, and clearly, and unequivocally slows us down.

Yesterday, with Prometheus, we stole again the amazing power of fire, and with Icarus, we flew with our waxen wings so close, so very close to the sun of extacy. It was the season-closer of dreams, a day that could not possibly, possibly have been more perfect.

this is your classic shit-eating-grin….i’m just too stoned to get out of that boat….bill has just walked towards me, with his arms flung wide, shouting “shoot me! shoot me, dead!” I have never sailed spring ice so vast, in some places so smooth and quiet, surrounded by mountains, enlivened by 7 ice buddies, and driven by wind so powerful, but just under the edge of abject fear.

but ice that is punctuated also by danger: very occasional healed holes which slam you so soundly, that you are thankful to still have intact runners…or….out of nowhere, a house-sized drain hole, right in the middle of our playground, that we marked with an upright stick.

As we drove our boats downwind, beyond the craziness of the high 40’s MPH, our boats would begin to do a “three-runner float”. The boats were too well balanced to do a spin-out, as they would have done upwind. There you were, out of control, with the only option being to sheet-out, and, with slightly slower speed, to come back on to the ice.

And best of all, was being joined by Curtis, in “Indigo”……this is a big big change…..for two reasons…..

for a number of seasons, as the CIBC ages, Bill and I have counted on each other for persistence, for energy, and for having at least one other buddy to face dangerous conditions…..it’s been like being joined at the hip….with all the intimacy and also the strain…..and we’ve known that if either of us becomes no longer available, a precious thing in our lives will die……and here come Curtis, absolutely brimming with energy and can-do commitment…..who lives on an island, takes the 615AM ferry to drive long distances….who buys Indigo, really top-of-the-line gear….and sails the bloody hell out of it…..this is a long-awaited dream coming true.

And secondly, we have the rebirth of a dearly dearly beloved boat–Indigo. This is the boat, gaining speed each year, whose wake I have generally–except for lucky moments–followed, like a puppy, for 4 seasons. In the past weeks, I have been able to pass her at will…..but now, ALAS!…. Curtis’s sharpening skills put her in her rightful place…

A deep bow of gratitude to Steve Lamb and Peter, who heard of Twin Lakes, and stared at the webcam of “5 lakes lodge”, and brought this amazing place into our purview. The 5 lakes together are the size of Sebago. They are a mere 2:15 hours from Camden, and flash to black ice, just when we’re beginning the difficult ‘middle season’. I hope that more of us will brave the trip. This will give you some idea of this jewel:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=214799449034128017207.0004d81fdbb46f0e221c3&msa=0&ll=45.674403,-68.78643&spn=0.08924,0.264187

so, dear buddies, stay tuned for the announcement of the spring ice party, and also for weekend reports from damariscotta….

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