Friday marked the ninth time that my beloved Raven has splashed down under my watch. I think back to the day when I first put her in the slings at the marina where I’d purchased her on Long Island Sound and realize that the intervening years have been some of the richest I’ve known. It’s as if an entire lifetime has been lived between that maiden voyage and this spring’s launch.
While life undoubtedly has its milestones, 2005 did not simply close out a chapter. It was the start of a whole new book. Some of the characters remained the same (although my own character has been profoundly altered), yet the storyline began fresh and completely new.
Climbing aboard Raven will always be an emotional experience. When I purchased her as a home to replace the one I’d lost following a divorce, I sought refuge within her 34-foot hull. I wanted to escape from a world that had let me down. My recovery began with long spells of solitude at her helm.
On Friday, after launching Raven on a calm, 70-degree morning, I took her to her mooring under much different circumstances than those of 2005. As I lowered the main and tied up the lines, Marion met me at the transom with our dinghy that she’d rowed from shore. We straightened up a bit, made the bed, put away summer clothes, then left to return to our mountainside home where we are continuing with the spring planting.
I’d once read that when the right boat comes along your heart will always skip a beat as you gaze back at her while rowing ashore. Several times during Friday’s journey to land I paused to look back at Raven. She swayed gently on her mooring with reflections of sparkling clear waters dancing along her freshly cleaned hull. Despite the painful circumstances during which she’d come into my life, Raven continues to make my heart sing. Among the characters that have been introduced in this most recent sequel, Raven has without question become quite the charmer in her leading role.