Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Small pleasures

My son learned to sail over the summer. He's a water person, just like his mom. I cleverly stopped work a bit early last Friday and we rented a sailboat on Lake Merritt for an hour. He gets pretty wound up inside, and being on the water with him I could see the spring uncoil, the muscles relax, the tension in his little body just unwind and drift away.

He maneuvered the Sunfish just fine. He's quite good! Although the wind was mild, we still made several knots a couple of times. The lake is not large. Crossing it in a couple minutes makes it feel smaller.

We noticed a capsized canoe. I sort of ignored it; I've capsized our canoe, and it's not a big deal. But after several minutes, it was still capsized. We sailed over. A man who spoke no English (at that moment, anyway!) was clinging to the side with his daughter. His son was holding a paddle and had drifted a couple boat lengths away. Everyone was in life vests, so I wasn't concerned, but the girl was in a panic.

We picked up the boy, and went over to the canoe. The girl started to pull herself along the canoe towards us. She was crying hysterically, poor thing, and couldn't understand me as I was telling her that all she was doing was staying in one spot and pulling the canoe out of my reach.

Anyway, I gave up on her for the moment and reached a paddle to the dad. We pulled the boats together, just as I saw the rescue boat powering over to us. In less than a minute, I'd made a stable platform of our sailboat and the rescue boat. The employees pulled the whole family up into their boat, and I noticed that none of their legs were working very well. I guess the lake water is pretty cold below the top couple of feet, and hypothermia had shut down their legs!

They all came out fine, it was a warmish day. They did lose their wallet and their camera.

Helping those people would have been the most exciting thing to me, if I were a boy with my dad out on the lake. I'd have come home gushing about how we rescued people. But for my son, the pleasure came from being with me, out on the water, taking part in enjoying his new skill.

I've learned a lot; I have more to learn.

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