Goin’ Where the Weather Suits My Clothes
They call them “sunflowers” because they turn their faces toward the sun, right? So why do they call us “snowbirds?” We don’t seek the snow, we try to get away from winter. So they should call us “sunbirds” don’t you think? A few weeks ago my friend RoseAnn posted her Facebook status: “We went away for the weekend and while we were gone it was like someone flipped the switch from summer to fall.” And that seasonal switch also activated something in our own minds – it’s time for these two sunbirds to start thinking about sailing to Florida for a few months.
I’m an engineer. I’m also the queen of checklists, and just now we’re overwhelmed with details. Repair the bilge pump and bring the spare anchor aboard. Forward our mail and turn off the land line phone. Figure out where to leave the car, and restitch the sail cover. Stock up on our favorite foods and spare parts for the diesel. And on and on and on. I don’t just have a do-list; I have a master list of all the do-lists! I built a list of boat-related things we had to get ready, and another one for the business of our lives. I once read somewhere that running an ordinary life in the 21st century took as much paperwork as running a small business in the 1960s, and after building list #2 I totally believe it. List #3 was the really tough one, though – that was the “social” list.
Annapolis really has got its hooks into me, and I feel a tearing away, even though I’m only leaving temporarily. Every place I go, I have this dialog in my head that says, “Appreciate this … it’ll be the last time you get to ___.” The blank could be filled in with anything from “drink one of those insane margaritas at Mexican Café;” or “work out at Fitness Forum;” or even something as mundane as “go to the grocery store and know which aisle the mustard is in.” Most of all, though, it’s about the people. I’ve written before about our incredible boat community and how wonderful it feels to be a part of it. We make boat friends fast – faster than we generally could on land. There’s the instant connection because you have a common interest and face common challenges. The friendships grow close fast too, because you both know that it’s likely that your paths will diverge as you continue on your travels. And by the time we expect to return next spring, one friend will have retired and moved to Texas, another will have sold their boat and gone off to grad school in California. There’s always email, but email friends can’t come over and haul you up the mast, bring a pot of soup when you’re feeling sick, or pick you up at the airport. At the same time, we head off to a watery horizon knowing its likely we’ll meet new folks to have adventures with and the childhood rhyme runs through my head “Make new friends but keep the old/One is silver and the other gold.”