Sailing awayyyy

The Lewis R. French, from the deck of the Angelique. Ain’t she pretty?

I’m waiting for something.

Watching a robin wrangle a grasshopper in the weeds, eating my friend’s grandmother’s pickled beets, and stuffing eggs from her rowdy hens (and broccoli from her sunflower-strewn garden) into my mouth as I read her books. Her dogs doze in the damp grass.

I am waiting. I am not sure for what. Maybe for this cat to come stalking past the window and jump the robin.

It has been raining every day since I hiked into Maine, but I am not actually hiking now. I went sailing. On two boats (the Lewis R. French, my first boat, and the Angelique, who berths next to her).

The way it happened was this:


That is steep. That is southern Maine, which was so much fun. And this:


Which was very muddy. Now imagine so many miles of this. And these:

The lady in the recliner is Honey, and the fine gentleman not pictured is Bear. They have a cabin, and they hosted Earl Shaffer. Sweetest couple imaginable.

HUMANS. Yay. …But what I am saying, my peoples, is that there was a moment on the trail where I was very tired. My life was gray and sad. And full of mud. So… much… mud. And rain. …But mostly mud.

So gray.

Then, one day, I was wandering through a powerline gap eating raspberries, and a man walked up. “Hello,” I said. The man did not respond.

Ugh. I guess this man hates raspberries. I was already pretty grumpy, but a part of my brain was like, no, self. Persist. Ugh, says I. I hate humans. Fine.

“Look, raspberries!” I said, or something. The man pulled the headphones out of his ears, and then we commenced eating raspberries, briefly, before grumpy self was like, alright, this is enough, and then I walked away.

Seven hours later, after I hitched a ride into town with a very lovely lady, because I needed food, this man walks in and says, aha, dinner. I will sit with you? Very well, says I. “My friend might join,” he says. Ok, fine. Whatever. I ate pizza, then I started in on dessert, and then his hiker friend walks in and sits down. “Sail? Why’s your name Sail?”

Well… I sailed on a tall ship. [It was the Lewis R. French, dear readers, which typically has a crew of 4 people in a single year.]

“That’s neat! I worked on one tall ship. It was the Lewis R. French.”

This is a picture from the deck of the Angelique, where I was eating food, hauling on lines, washing some dishes, and playing their piano. That’s the Lewis R. French sailing beautifully through the background like a wee tall ship, the cutest ship, the oldest Maine coasting schooner still in operation (awwwwwwww. 1871 is how old.) and you can see Angelique’s beautifully classy tanbark sails in the foreground.

Within the space of 4 minutes, we (1) determined that we should both go to Camden now, (2) established our mutual friends and shanghaied one of them into driving 2.5 hours on a work night to come pick us up from the trail, and (3) finished eating dessert while planning our walk down the docks to eat pancakes off our beloved tall ship, which was leaving Camden harbor the next morning after feeding its passengers a wonderful breakfast. Our poor hapless friend Tippy Top had to sit there while we established all of this. What a world it is, my peoples.

So it goes. Here we are. I’ll be hitching back to the trail in a few days, and look forward to immersing myself in the northbound bubble of hikers. Aaaaaaa, humans. Aaa.

Much love, as always,


P.S. This is what you get.


1 Comment

  1. Chris Manzi says:

    Sail, this is a great installment of your life and thank you for sharing. We were just in Maine two weeks ago for our anniversary and it is a special place. Maybe we will tell you about it someday. Waiting for more of your story……..,.


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