Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Soul On Water
Yesterday at 6 a.m. I rowed a single shell out into Long Island Sound. Despite the warm and muggy weather, it was a soul-feeding experience. I witnessed a glorious sunrise; saw Canadian geese, swans, cormorants and herons; dodged two large oyster harvesting boats; and got a great workout. The photo on the right is an eight-man shell and I'm second from the top (bow).
I started rowing in 1990, nearly 20 years ago. My friend, Phil, taught me how to scull (rowing with two oars) and I was hooked! Since then, I have rowed competitively all over the world. Rowing is one of the most demanding sports I've ever enjoyed. It requires a very high level of fitness. To keep in shape, I row an average of 4 times/week for an hour.
My rowing club is on the Norwalk River, which admittedly is not the most scenic river in Connecticut. Upriver there is a cement plant that spews noxious smoke and a sewage plant that leaks effluent (steam rises off the plant’s spillage in colder weather). One of the busiest interstates, I-95 crosses the river and provides continuous traffic noise. Despite these deficiencies there is beauty; the Norwalk River flows into the Norwalk harbor and Long Island Sound, both of which are lovely and scenic areas filled with sailboats, light houses, small islands and parks along the shore.
Rowing out into Long Island Sound, especially at sunrise (our weekday practices begin at 5:30 a.m., allowing us the privilege of seeing many sunrises), is still thrilling. Nearly every time we stop in the Sound to turn around to row back, someone proclaims, “What a morning!” Watching the sun peek over the horizon and signal the beginning of a new day is a glorious, soul-enriching moment.