iced in at the dock during a previous winter
The sails are off and stored; the remaining bare mast and boom are an exact analogy to the trees, winter-bare of leaves. The engine has been “winterized;” with bright pink antifreeze replacing the seawater that cools it in summertime. So. We have a boat that cannot be moved with either motor or sails, and that soon will be frozen in place in its slip by ice. My friend Dave says that living on a boat at the dock is not conceptually that different from living in an apartment, and he’s right. Granted that this “apartment” is exceedingly small, and moves in the wind, and the water tanks are somewhat awkward to refill – needing to wait for decent weather to use the garden hoses without slipping on ice. But really, not too different. We have a landline phone and are plugged into the dock electricity. We hang out indoors, reading or surfing the net or listening to music. We cook cozy food – soups and oatmeal. We walk to the parking lot to get into our car to go shopping or to visit friends instead of using the dinghy.
I’ve gotten so used to moving our home to explore new places. The strangest change of mindset that comes with winter comes when I realize, we can’t move the boat anywhere even if we wanted to. The most obvious reason is that were icelocked. But even if we weren’t, we can’t move by wind power because the sails are off, we can’t run the engine because its shut down for the winter, and we can’t tow ourselves by dinghy because the dinghy has been deflated and stored on deck and its engine winterized and in the shed. Nope, no matter what, our home is immobile, we are stuck where we are, right here in this slip, until spring. The only way to move is by packing our possessions and taking them someplace else and starting over. And then I realize with a start: this is what it’s always like, for our friends who live in houses.