This summer has been brutally hot. The past few times we’ve gone to Claytor Lake to sail, there has been a burning sun and no wind.
This morning, though, it was different. At 7:00 AM, my husband and I swung out of the driveway, pulling our little wooden yawl behind the car. Our coffee swirled in ceramic mugs in the cup holders. We had the windows down and the air conditioning off.
We arrived at the lake so early, there was nobody at the ranger station to collect our launch fee. In the vast parking lot that usually swarms with jet-skis, motor boats, pick-up trucks, glittery trailers to match glittery speedboats, and boaters toting towels and coolers, there was grey mist and stillness. We had the boat ramp to ourselves. In the normally buzzing lot were two empty trailers, zero people, and acres of deserted asphalt.
When we stepped out of the car, we both shivered in the morning air, then grabbed our sweatshirts and pulled them over our heads.
I’m a sucker for autumn. It might be my favorite season. To combine autumn (the best season) with morning (the best time of day) and water (the best place to be) is pretty much heaven to me. It’s cool, it’s quiet, the sounds are gentle, the scents are fresh.
Without boats zipping back and forth, without the buzz of engines and radios, without wakes to tumble our little boat, without the summer activity that usually accompanies a trip to the lake, we were able to glide silently through the water with a light wind in our sail. We made no wake.
We sailed towards a flock of small birds — maybe swallows? — that swooped and swirled within feet of the water’s surface, ignoring us in our quiet approach. We heard the sploosh of fish jumping. We skimmed along, listening to the splish of fresh water against our wooden hull.
I’m not sure I could have asked for a better beginning to autumn, kicking it off with an early morning sail, where not only did we have a gentle breeze and comfortable, overcast skies, but we wore swimsuits, flip flops, and sweatshirts.
Swimsuits. Flip flops. Sweatshirts.
This may be my new favorite combination of clothing.