The 2019 Everglades Challenge is a month away, and my favorite skipper is finalizing this year's modifications to Spawn of Frankenscot, the 22-foot-long, OH-Rodgers-designed adventure boat that engages his attention this time of year.
But the wings are worth a quick look, I think. So here's a video.
In all honesty, writing is terribly easy to avoid. Sometimes the dishes and the laundry seem more important.
For the past few weeks, I have been sewing a lot. And while I can rift on how quilting is like writing, I know it's really an elaborate avoidance mechanism for the Really Awful Stuff that is going down in the world of my goose-girl story.
But in light of that impulse to cut things up and sew them back together in a pleasing form, today's writing prompt takes some random words and puts them into a story pattern:
Random words: relation, requirement, region, role, reaction, revolution, ratio.
The pattern: (character+needs+action)
Everything looked tiny from the sky that time of day. The ratio of tree to shadow all out of proportion, as if the shadow had overthrown its role. She felt the idea take hold, that a revolution was rolling across the surface of the world. That long, branching shadow was just then throwing a tree into existence against the burning disk of sun.
The crackling of her headset recalled her to the reality of the chopper, the dry air and the dust, the possibility of light glinting off something lethal on the ground below her.
"Barnett! Two clicks!"
She nodded and took a deep, steadying breath. Without consulting the laminated instruction sheet clipped to the seat-back, she ticked off the safety requirements again. She snugged the buckles, threaded gloved fingers along the straps. This time, she swung her legs to the side and let her boots meet the skids.
"Barnett, I am counting in four, three, two ––" the horizon took a quarter turn, and she punched the release on her seatbelt. Gravity loaded as the chopper rose away from her. The chute deployed, and she bounced lightly in the harness in the middle of the air.
The toggles felt like reins, she thought, and the wing was like a horse racing downhill. Shit, she was flaking out. She was a target waiting to sighted. With an effort, she lined up a particular tan formation of rock with its own long shadow and urged the horses to gallop.
The gritty sand rose to meet her, and she landed running. Hustling the wing into the pack, she didn't spare a moment looking into the hills. She trotted up the narrow ravine for fifteen minutes, the only sound her boots and her own pulse like a snare drum in her ears.
Whoa. That's a surprise. Sometimes the scraps turn themselves into something unexpected.
I wonder if it's Afghanistan or Mars. Why is she solo? I may return to this one day, and I thank you for joining me in my rhetorical calisthenics.
I've since became an enthusiastic customer of St. Lawrence Nurseries, where the trees are bred to survive the harshest of North Country weather. We made sheltered havens where we've planted heirloom apples, pears, hazelnuts, elderberries, basket willows, and, the point of the blog: aronia berries.
Aronia is the formal name for what is sometimes known as a "chokeberry." (NOT a "chokecherry," btw) It's a small, hardy, brushy tree that bears dark little fruits. They are quite astringent until ripe.
Scientific studies show that it's bursting with super-fruit power, and I'm hoping for an aronia cordial or a mixed berry pie next fall.
It's not an easy lot, trying to be a good sapling on the Would-Be Farm. You'll have to survive lots of rain, or not enough rain, plus biblical-level plagues of insects and marauding deer. You'll get ignored and crowded by weeds for months at a time.
But when fruit arrives, as this aronia did this past autumn, a young sapling can expect a bit of a party.
Hurrah the Aronia! Nice work, little fella!
Hope you are having a decent winter up there! You'll be getting a birthday cake of fertilizer in April! Yay you!
Between the ferries, the Mistral winds, and the Ministry of Culture, you will weep bitter, bitter tears of frustration.
"Oh non, <something something> de voitures, mais mini-vans, oui." Oh, mini-vans, you'll think, yet another word that has no translation.
Perhaps because the waiting line was quite long and they had only started their vacation, the French men say, "Do you have a reservation for a car? No?"
Then switching easily to English, they ask, "Have you just arrived?"
Where, they ask, will you go now?
Tell them you were planning to visit beautiful Mount Olympus, an easy drive. Hiking, perhaps even camping.
Oh, they will say, Have you not heard? Forest fires have closed Mount Olympus.
"Mais bien sûr!" you can say. But of course. Of course Mount Olympus is closed.
I underestimate my husband's ability to find joy in his moment. After mooching around the ruins, he suggested a walk, and we headed up the beautifully marked E4 European long-distance trail. Up up up the Kaki Scala.
A few hours later, as we followed signs and listened to the musical clanking of goat-bells sounding from the hills around us, we arrived at the Korykion Cave, where Pan was worshipped.
The actual Pan. Not an easy god, he.
We climbed into Pan's cave. Scene of who knows what-all sacred mysteries, the cave also sheltered Greeks from foreign invasion (the Persians in the 5th C BC, the Turks during the Greek War of Independence, and the Germans in 1943).
A good cave is a joy forever, evidently.
We picnicked, respectfully, and then wound our way back to the tiny white rental car, unscathed by Pan or the loud farm-dogs.
A couple of days is not enough for Delphi.
I am almost afraid to plan a trip back to the Temple of Apollo to see the Charioteer again and walk those fragrant dry hills –– in case my travel mojo destroys the entire town.
I'm calling them "water wings." Like the inflatable swim aids, these solid wings should give the boat additional floatation and resistance to turning over.
Which is important to me, anyhow.
And as promised, a short video from the weekend of testing Spawn.
By the time I got on the water with a camera, the air was VERY light. Thanks to EnsignRumsDown who filled in for Moresailesaid on New Year's Day.
My favorite skipper will be away from this project for a few weeks while he sails other, less quirky vessels.
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