Sunday, June 26, 2011

God gave me style

Another unidentified flower

I distinctly remember the day I learned the meaning of the phrase “I like the cut of your jib.” Secret was anchored in Georgetown harbor, and we were hanging out with crew from two other boats—a duo of crazy western Australians and another couple, the female half of which was Native American and the male half of which was a treasure hunter. He bought a video camera to fasten to the front of his hull, and they were heading to the Ragged Islands, a chain of rugged coral outcroppings in a remote part of the Bahamas, famous because so many boats wrecked there. That’s the idea behind treasure hunting—you go to the places where the most boats have wrecked, which doesn’t seem like that brilliant of a strategy for one’s own boat. This same couple took a Boston Whaler across the Gulf Stream, so elements of their sanity may have been questionable.

She wove us a rainbow-bead dream-catcher to hang in our boat. It still hangs from the bulletin board of my Chattanooga office, and I remember them, and wonder if they ever made it past the Ragged Islands.

They had a Cal 33, designed by Gary Mull, the same dude who designed the Ranger 33s, which Secret was. Cals are slower boats, beamier, more for cruising than for racing, and I was jealous. Not only did their boat have standing head room for us tall people, but it had space. They had old-fashioned hanked-on foresails, which they bemoaned, but I was jealous of those, too. Our roller-furler was barely working at that point and hanked-on sails sounded so much easier.

Best yet, they had a blade jib. A sail shaped like a blade, 87 percent of their sail area—as sexy as it sounds. I said, almost without hearing myself, “I like the cut of your… jib.” I meant it, standing there, in front of someone’s jib, envying it.

I’ve been doing that with land lately, with weather. I love this little chunk of land carved out at the bottom of Snow Road. Bridgewater is the local town, with 700 residents, but the denizens of Snow Road like to claim that this city is a separate village altogether. Snow Settlement. Where people like to drink boxed wine and Mountain Dew, where you hear the neighbor shoot a couple of rounds of .22s on a Sunday afternoon, where free-range moose roam across the road, where you walk home using the fireflies to light y0ur way.

If there’s one thing that Snow Road has in spades, it’s snow. We had snow here about two weeks later than anyone else, and we get snow about two weeks earlier. Spending three days up at a lake made me feel like I was living in a separate micro-climate. There was actually sun. It shone. I got color in my face. My shoulders grew back their freckles.

Not only is this the road of snow, but the house is located at a little divot at the bottom of the road, where, even on these long summer days, shade begins at five pm. I have to go to the corner of the lawn to do a sunny sun salutation. The garden’s located at the edge of the beaver pond, so it gets the most light. It’d be the perfect situation for a house. If the house was in Alabama.

On nice days, like today, I trek uphill to R.’s place. He’s the neighbor that lives in a bus, and I sit out on the bus’s attached hardwood deck until the last glimmer of sun disappears from the top of the hill.

I’m not complaining. I refuse to complain about the weather. I’m just noting that a road on the wrong side of the only hill in 500 square miles, on the lowest ground on that road, in the county that I theorize has the worst weather in the continental United States (Perhaps barring parts of northern North Dakota—someone look it up for me? Please? Someone who has internet?), makes for some cloudy, dreary days, even in June.

So. Whoever you are, wherever you live (unless perhaps you live in North Dakota). I like the cut of your jib.

5 comments:

Red Sonia said...

That flower is a trillium. It is illegal to kill them b/c they are endangered (that is what I think anyway.)

Red Sonia said...

Great last line! Makes me chuckle. I may have to quote it somewhere!

Melissa said...

Really? I think I've posted a picture of purple trillium before, but I didn't know there was white trillium. I love the purple ones, and these are elegant, too.

Red Sonia said...

Andrew is saying trillium means three petals, so I was wrong. Sigh. If only I still had my flower's book from college to look it up. I feel that way about birds and trees as well.

Melissa said...

The trillums up here are purple--I'll post a picture of one at some point. I have a tree and bird book, but no flower book! I even think I read the name of these flowers in Olive Kitteridge, but don't remember it now...