Saturday, April 7, 2012

Restoring My Metaphoric Draft

They never talk about this at the boat show, that bright moment when you stood on the deck of a glistening wonder of marine engineering, imagining how it would feel to have a brisk and steady wind striking the sail to propel you forward, always forward as  the boat heels to port, and the tiller vibrates under your hand as the rudder cuts a fine line  through the water.  At the boat show you touched the pristine decking, stroked with loving hands the rails, smelled the slight chemical aroma,  and ignored the sounds of money flowing from your bank account as you lusted to possess this wonder.

Your mind casts back to those thoughts years later as each winter's thaw drives you back to dry storage where your boat has sat neglected for long, cold months.  Then there's that stark moment of dread when you see it covered with dust and grime from the winter's storms and fierce winds and realize how much needs to be done to restore your boat to what you saw in that glorious boat show dream.

Reality bites as you start to remove the grit and grime with your wet, cold hands to expose the toll the weather, and the previous year's voyages, has taken on the bottom.  You scrape the barnacles and other growth the boat acquired and sand the hull down to its essentials, patching and filling where necessary before you begin the slow, miserable job of sanding. This is like editing a first draft; just identifying those parts that need work.

If you thought the long and dirty job of scraping and filling was hard it holds nothing to the pains accompanying applying very expensive paint while upside down with a roller that seems as intent on spraying your face as putting a smooth coating on the hull.  This is similar to the successive editing of drafts, working and reworking a section until it flows smoothly.Nevertheless you persevere until the draft and boat bottom are finished.  As you admire your work you realize that all the effort you put forth will be invisible once the boat is launched.

Bottom work completed, you begin the arm-wrenching, tiresome work of compounding the hull to restore luster, polishing to bring out the shine, and waxing to put a protective coat against sun and storm.  When this is done, when the only thing remaining is to launch the boat, you stand back and see that your love is once again, for a few brief moments, that lovely, wonderful object you fell in love with at the boat show.

And ready to sail once again.

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