Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida – December 29, 2012
We ended in a parking lot, the two of us wrapped in a blue tarp to fend off the wind, the boats sitting nearby like cars parked between painted lines. A snapped wire on the rudder, twenty-knot winds, waves crashing over the hull, drifting back to shore, all of it made for a wild mile and half ride that ended with a phone call home.
“Can you come get us?” I asked.
We made hot chocolate and played games to stay warm, huddled out of the wind and watched the sun fall, smiled as people took pictures to show their friends back home.
“Look at these two crazies,” I imagine them saying. “We found them in a parking lot and they thought their boats were cars.”
Crazy maybe, but all smiles, knowing that sometimes the wind says no. It says go home for New Year’s a day early. Stop paddling, rest, don’t get your friend killed because you want to cross Santa Rosa sound. It says wait behind a dune, wrap yourself in plastic, hope your parents beat sunset.
It’s not hard to listen, not when you know that your mom is coming, that you’ll open that car door and give her a hug six months in the making. There isn’t a better feeling in the world.