Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Evanston: the absence of beauty; first date; found

        Old sailor walks briskly up Chicago Avenue through falling snow.  He passes a few other bloated amorphous shapes, bundled as is he in parkas and gloves and boots and ski caps and scarves.  He passes the AutoBarn, sandwich shops, a pizza place, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, a pet store, dry cleaner, shoe repair.  Mostly two story brick buildings.  Nondescript rectangles.  As he nears the city center, the buildings rise to five and six stories and more.  Still rectangles.  Still nondescript until he comes to a former Christian Science church with Greek columns that has been turned into a music school.  This is not great architecture, but at least it doesn’t look like everything else.  In front of a care center are, as always, even in falling snow, four or five residents smoking, as presumably they are not permitted to inside.
        There is no beauty.  None.  Not a glimpse.  Not a glimmer.  Sometimes the sky is beautiful, he remembers.  But now it is low and gray and dull.  In summer there are flowers.  The lake a half mile or so to his right is often beautiful.  Though he cannot see it, he knows it is now as dull as the sky.
        The old sailor hurries on.
        Far away the ocean waits.


        The first sail in a newly purchased boat is a great day for any sailor.  A cliché says that the second greatest day is when he sells her; but I have not found that to be true.  The first sail is even more special when the boat is your first or a very different boat from those you have owned before.  
        In England last Sunday Bill, who has mostly raced dinghies, and his father, Roger, who has a Drascombe Lugger named ONDINE, went for their first sail on CALSTAR, a new-to-them Westerly Griffin, and at 26’ qualitatively bigger than their other boats.  I believe that if you can sail small boats, you can sail big ones; though not necessarily the other way around.
        Bill wrote about this on his site in an entry headed, ‘First Date.’  
        I think this is something all of us can relate to.  
        And note the smile on Roger’s face.


        The boat was sighted approaching the Australian coast by a young Aucklander vacationing there.  A couple wanted on other criminal charges apparently used it to escape from New Zealand when they would have been arrested at an airport.