For the Love of Rowing

Good morning everyone. We have shoveled out from another 10″ of snow. The snow banks are as big as I have seen them in years and with the temperatures dipping into the single numbers we are experiencing that winter cold that makes me feel so alive. I absolutely love it. No one moves slowly in this kind of cold. It is called brisk because that describes how quickly you walk between the house and the barn keeping the wood stoves fed, which by the way, are going through wood briskly. The wind chill this morning is well below zero.

So getting out for exercise, besides shoveling, is not easy. Going for a run takes on a new reality when one is dodging the town plow truck. We take the kids skiing at the Camden Snow Bowl which has a great covering of snow and from which we can see the Bay. But through the grace of good friends we have inherited a rowing machine. And I do love to row. Now the rowing machine in the barn loft is nothing like the real thing but we do enjoy the workout. Seems it runs in the family. Sawyer and I went out to the schooner the other day before it snowed and he chose to row instead of come aboard. I think he got a real kick out of rowing through the ice and snow. I remember last summer when he and Courtney returned from an island foray towing a log. (Where did he learn that trick?) Rowing is always an adventure. But winter rowing has a very different feeling. The ice and snow just magnifies the excitement. Being on the water in the winter is an adventure. Everything in your bones tell you that this could be dangerous. It isn’t really any different than summer except that the water is a lot colder but the rowing itself is no different. Sawyer had a blast just dabbling around the schooner while I banged the heavy snow off the cover. Besides which Sawyer kept the skiff from filling with snow while tied alongside.

I am reminded of a story I heard about a yogi who once did a head balance on the edge of Yosemite Falls. When asked if he was scared he replied with the same thought process. Why should I be scared when I practice serenely head balancing every day. So I am sure there is some hole that can be shot through this but why bother. Just go with it and believe that life really can be a function of mind over matter sometimes. For us that applies to cold and snow, rain and fog, mosquitoes and black flies; everything except heat and humidity. I have yet to make friends with the Zen of that combination quite yet.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.


  1. As a child, I would spend my summers with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on a piece of property on Lake Candlewood in CT. Early every morning my grandfather would rise with the sun and row his wooden dorie the length of our side of the lake, thru the morning mist. The water was like glass and he would disappear and reappear like magic and I can remember thinking I could watch him row forever.

    Thanks for rekindling that memory!

  2. When I walked out of my house, south of Birmingham, this morning it was 16 degrees. I thought that fact might be fodder for a comment on the Captain’s Blog. So, I get to work, driving briskly I might add, and sit down to break my morning fast. I pulled my Blackberry off my hip, pushed a few buttons to access the Captain’s Blog and what do I find? More snow, single digit temperatures, rowing in an icy harbor, keeping the fires lit in the house and barn – and you love it!

    Well, me too. Somehow the Yankee in me has not been completely eroded. A bright, sunny, cold morning, like we had today, makes me want to be out in it more than any summer day. I can’t begin to say how many people asked me, “Cold enough for ya?” My normal reply, “Just about.”

  3. An update on my comment. I’d rather be outside on a cold, clear, sunny winter’s day than a normal, hot, humid summer day here in the South. Now a Maine summer day aboard the Mary Day – that’s another thing altogether.

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