Sunday, June 9, 2013

That's a Wrap


After Glow
I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;
Of happy memories I leave when life is done.
~ Author Unknown

Boomer had a passion for sailing.  Before he had babies, he had sailboats.  He maintained his sailing credentials through the years so he could sail when the opportunity arrived again...

Saturday morning, Boomer's ashes were spread out on Lake Michigan - - from a sailboat.  Lake Michigan, the body of water where he enjoyed his passion, sailing his boats.  It is also the body of water that connects his homes - - Detroit, MI, Boomer's hometown where he was born, and grew up.  Saugutuck, MI, the place he loved to spend vacation time in the summer, for years renting a home for a week or two.   Racine, WI, where he actually docked his boats.  And of course, Chicago, where he called home for 30 years and became a father and a husband.

The weather in Chicago leading up to Saturday was less than ideal.  Another stark reminder of why we moved - - it's June, yet feels like October.   I purposefully delayed this memorial exercise because of the weather - - in honor of Boomer.   He hated the cold and the winters, which was the timing of his passing, last November (read Oh My Man). I'd witnessed signs during my early morning bike ride (read S.S.B.B.) indicating Mother Nature (collaborating with Boomer not doubt) would play favorably for us...

We were an intimate group of 8 congregating at Belmont Harbor for the sail, collectively rejoicing at the present weather conditions.  There's minimal activity in the harbor at this early hour; Captain Steve is swift in getting us out on the open water. Naturally, after pulling out of the dock, it only took about 3 minutes before someone remarked how we had "just set sail for a three hour tour."  Though it was really 2 1/2 hours, the ensuing laughter was a the perfect ice-breaker.  While, yes, it is a somber morning, it's equally healthy for us to laugh.  I knew Boomer was laughing too. 

The panoramas grew more magnificent the further we got from the shore, our destination is 5 miles out.   Everyone is in awe of the climate conditions we're experiencing - - they're beyond glorious.  The sun is in full command of the cloudless, baby-blue sky.  For a place known as "the windy city", the winds on this morning are virtually non-existent or to use sailor vernacular, zero knots.  For a serious sail, that's bad news; for our ceremonial sail and for the ladies on board, it's good news.  Assuring both a smooth ride and styled hair remaining in tact.  But what captivated us all the most was the surreal calmness of the water - - almost mystical in its tranquility; with the translucent appearance of an infinity pool.   
We are midway, the captain put up the main sail, hoping to catch a breeze, no luck.  The exact opposite happened - - it suddenly became calmer, more still, more serene.  "I suggest this is our spot," says Captain Steve. He's done this kind of excursion before and he's the guru on board.  He turns off the engine, the quiet was deafening.  Each of us took our turn, a private moment, to scatter ashes off the starboard side of the boat, that then slowly drifted toward the stern - - as if floating out to sea, before descending into the deep .  Starboard is right, so there was no coincidence to me how distinct it was that we just by chance were all on this side (read Left, Right) of the boat.  

In recent years, the list of things my Boomer felt he lost, or believed he didn't have any, control over seemed to grow for him.  Obsessive thoughts and behaviors over things, like the weather, would consume him.  Regularly fixating himself on everything, including those absolutes which none of us have any control over.   In sailing the weather dictates what kind of experience you're going to have:  smooth, turbulent, easy, difficult.    Maybe it's the sailor in him that he latched onto the obsessing about the weather like he did.

During these days of my grieving pilgrimage, the weather has been a remarkable element to every destination I've visited (read Pilgrimage, Band-Aid, Migration, Perspective, Gauntlet, and S.S.B.B.).  I believe none of it was by accident or coincidence.  My guy, Boomer, who I laid to rest today in the waters he loved, has been at the helm every step of the way - - navigating the weather and loving every moment of it.   Thank you Captain Boomer.  It's been a transforming experience.

Sail on my dear, beloved sailor.  Sail On...


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