Taking Flight

The following little snippet actually happened. I have to say that, because in the retelling, even I hear the tall tale that seems to surround the experience. But then again, for those of us who spend a lot of time outside, we have come to realize that life resembles mythology way more often than it resides within the boarders of logic. Here goes:

I was on a technique row on the calm side of the coast – up in the winding marsh stretches of the Westport River. The boat always feels so light when I’m not pulling it through wind and waves. The surface was calm, except for those little tiny stutter-ripples that just stand there like lines of typing. They give such an effect of speed – they blur into the sensation of acceleration.  I was also being carried along by the outgoing tidal current, giving more actual motion to my sensation of motion. Alongside, the tightly spaced stalks of horsetails and marsh grass whizzing by brought ever more movement to the corner of my eye. My gaze was held gently downwards, just mesmerized by the passing water. All the little things together gave me the definite sense of flight – I was basically a zoned-out rowing cliché skimming across the world.

This is when two small gulls settled in on each side of me. They were just a touch above the level of my hat’s rim, only a few feet off my stern.  Pretty close. They formed a perfect V formation, with me at the head. And they stayed there. Soaring. For a long time. It was the weirdest thing. Now I was really flying, the lead wing in the formation. My strokes were long and smooth, my blades just sweeping along the surface. The gulls wings glided, matching my speed perfectly, pulling me into a transcendent space. We carried this flight pattern for almost two miles, before some signal called them to peel off and circle away into the sky.