Writing a monthly column has its challenges, though they’re not what you might think. It’s true that a good topic can be temporarily elusive, but a very early wake-up call summons a patch of quiet time and space to think. Deadline pressure and strong coffee usually does the rest. (If I don’t have more than a dozen good ideas buried somewhere in my subconscious after four decades of living, I haven’t been living right.) No, the hard part is timing.
I stopped by the boatyard today — for that least-rewarding ritual of boat ownership, paying the bill — but the inevitable pain of the moment was (mostly) assuaged by a visit to my boat. There she was, on jackstands, newly hauled and not yet shrink-wrapped. It was late in the day, and the wintry sunlight (golden but cold) glinted off her pale blue hull. She looked good — a little lonely and bereft of purpose, but good. All in all, she struck me as “resting up” for next season’s adventures, but of course, I may have been projecting.
I spent much of my childhood in upstate New York, and though I tend to be nostalgic, I have a lifelong hatred of winter. It’s unreasonable, I know, and I’m trying to do better.
I’ve been going to boat shows for more than a decade now and — as with anything that becomes part of your professional duties — they have occasionally lost a little of their luster. It’s fair to say, though, that the very first boat show I went to changed my life — and it was more of a headfirst plummet than a long, slippery slide.
Is anyone else looking around right about now and wondering what the hell happened to summer? It’s over. Gone. A wrap. And yet I feel as if it should just be getting started.
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A 1981 Phi Beta Kappa journalism graduate, Bill has been writing about boats for more than two decades. His boating travels have taken him from the Persian Gulf to the Baltic Sea, and always back home to Little Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. As editor, Bill is responsible for planning and executing the publication's boating coverage each month, and his Under Way column starts each issue. Bill has been with Soundings for 20 years and in 1997 won the Moulton H. "Monk" Farnham Award for Excellence in Editorial Commentary.