This, the first day of spring, is when the hours of daylight and nighttime are perfectly balanced. The sun is a great big sugar cookie perfectly divided between the two. Perfect symmetry is not meant to endure. It’s now the third day of spring at my harbor where day has purloined two extra minutes of sunlight. Way to go!
The vernal equinox signifies it’s time to shed the final threads of winter dormancy and flourish. Our woodpile has shrunk in equal proportion to the last heap of ashes in the hearth. The lure of sitting next to a warm fire with a good book is eclipsed by an intrinsic desire to get outside and do something.
There are many rituals associated with the vernal equinox such as the pagan celebrations of Ostara at Stonehenge. Lots of spring rituals deal with mating calls, bunnies, eggs, and rebirth. Spring bills itself as a very sexy season. My favorite spring ritual takes place fully clothed layered in fleece and goose down. It’s time to commission our boat for spring sailing! Sailors have great affection for “spring cleaning”. Here are the rites of Ostara for my 34 Catalina, the Ex Libris.
Ritual #1. Inspect my personal collection of Topsiders. Banish winter pairs to the back of the closet. Bring forth the spring collection. Retire socks to the bottom drawer.
Ritual #2. Check the Sperry.com web page to view the spring collection. If necessary, select size and click,”Buy Now.”
Ritual #3. Round up my boat cleaning supplies. Browse the West Marine catalog. Decide there’s nothing really needed so, go back to the Sperry page and reconsider options.
Ritual #4. Finally, wearing chic maritime footwear, we drive to the harbor where the boat wintered over. George pulls out the bubbler (an electric fan the keeps ice from forming around the hull) and estimates that the water temp is a half dozen degrees above freezing. I offer up a quick prayer that neither of us trip on a line and fall off the dock. We climb aboard. I savor the exhilaration of a new season and that I’m still physically fit to sail. I remind myself that it’s time to watch Captain Ron – again. I clean an and turn on galley fridge to ensure beverages are chilled.
Ritual 5. Realize it’s too darn cold to sail. I don’t need a cooler or to waste electricity on the fridge because after 30 minutes the beer became room temperature and turned to slush. The cabin is colder than Ahab’s wife when he returned home with a wink after three hygiene-free years at sea mucking about in whale guts.
Ritual 6. Go home. Ask George to make a fire. Hunker down with a hot toddy and a good book about sailing in the tropics. Double-check the Sperry web site. Watch Captain Ron – again.
Repeat the ritual in another month when the weather is conducive to water sports and add;
Ritual 7. Hank on the mainsail, kick the tires and light the fires. Get out of the harbor and into the season of the wind.