August 2004
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Day August 31, 2004

A boat owner’s best days…

markboat1…are the day you buy, and the day you sell.

Well, today’s the latter for me. The Free Spirit, which I’ve owned with a friend for five years, is moving onto its next owners. I’m sad, of course, because it’s hard not to fall in love with a beautiful wooden boat, but I’m also happy, because it’s hard to stay in love with an old wooden boat — once you’ve taken a trip to Doc Freeman’s to buy special chrome screws and copper bottom paint at “marine” prices.

But seriously, it’s a sad day. We had some good times on the boat, cruising around Puget Sound (the picture here was taken in the Ballard Locks on Memorial Day 2002, waiting to head out to sea), and of course taking guests to buzz Gates’ house on Lake Washington. And so, farewell Free Spirit

sea-lions and birds,
sun through fog
flaps up and lolling,
looks you dead in the eye.
sun haze;
a long tanker riding light and high.

sharp wave choppy line —
interface tide flows —
seagulls sit on the meeting
eating;
we slide by white-stained cliffs.

the real work.
washing and sighing,
sliding by.

— Gary Snyder, “The Real Work”