SAILING – THE DAY OF THE MONARCHS – A STORY RETELLING

We named our little craft “Gwaihir,” after the Eagle Wind Lord from Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” Really, she was a wind lady and a rather dainty girl at that. The name was perhaps a trifle pretentious for such a small craft, but I thought it would be a lucky name. Gwaihir was a 16-foot Soling with a centerboard, which is a retractable keel. With the board up, she drew only 16-inches. I used to tell friends that Gwaihir could sail on a wet hankie. I believe she could.

She was a surprisingly stable craft. We carried a 5 hp outboard motor so when tide and wind were against us, we could still get home. In the old days, sailboats had to drop anchor and wait for the tide, wind, or both to shift. Today, we have to get back in time for dinner … so we have outboard motors.

Sometimes, when the sea was calm and the wind was fair, we took Gwaihir out through Sloop Channel and Jones inlet to the ocean. Even a 3-foot roller looks huge when you are on the deck of such a small craft. My sailing partner was a madman on water. He would sail through thunder squalls because he liked the challenge. His father had been equally insane, so it must have been DNA.

Mostly though, I piloted her through the salt marshes, the shallow canals on Long Island’s south shore. She was ideal for shallow water sailing. We could move silently through nesting grounds of plovers, herons and divers, soundless except for a slight flapping of the jib. The birds were undisturbed by our passage and went about their business, our white sails wing-like in the breeze.

One bright day with a warm sun lighting the water and the sky blue as a robin’s egg, I anchored in a shallow, reedy spot, lay back on the bench and drifted off to sleep as I watched little puffy clouds scoot across the sky.

I awoke a while later and our white sail was covered with what seemed to be thousands upon thousands of monarch butterflies. I had drifted into their migration route and they had stopped for a rest on my little boat.

MonarchButterflies_20090910

I didn’t move or say anything. Just looked up and watched, thinking that if ever there had been a perfect day, crafted for my delight, this was it. Then, as if someone had signaled, they rose in a flock and flew onward to complete their long journey. And I sailed home.

SAILING – THE DAY OF THE MONARCHS



Categories: dialogue, Humor, reblog, Travel

Tags: , , , ,

23 replies

  1. What a beautiful piece of writing!

    Like

  2. Amazingly beautiful experience. What a treat. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Like

  3. How lovely – thank you for sharing this experience.

    Like

  4. wow=- how wonderful as you said, magical moment!!

    Like

  5. Reblogged this on Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author and commented:
    Another amazing monarchs’ tale. This one’s from an amazing author/blogger, Marilyn Armstrong…Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Follow The Magic! ~Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

    Like

  6. You didn’t by chance hear some faint “thank yous” or a chorus of “good byes”.., by any chance, huh?

    Like

  7. That was a priceless moment in time, thank you for sharing.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How wonderful to waken to a flock of monarchs! Almost dream=like!

    Like

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