Friday, December 12, 2008

IT'S A MAD PASSION






I'm mostly a steady, law-abiding guy. Never been to prison, never even come close. I'm one of the few out there driving a vehicle who actually pay attention to those signs on the side of the road. You know -- those signs with the numbers? "Speed limits," I think they're called. I'm just not a wild and crazy guy.

Aging can certainly have a mellowing effect, but really, I've just never been one of those guys who needs to find out how far he can stretch the law before it snaps. It just doesn't give me a thrill.

I do, however, seem to have a capacity for a rather scary level of intensity. Recently I looked at a photo of myself from freshman year of high school -- a cross-country team photo. I couldn't help but notice the quiet intensity in the eyes of that scrawny kid. It was as if, sitting too long in one place, I just might burn a hole through the mantle of the earth. With that capability I'd make a splendid arch-criminal. But that would be rude and I don't like being rude.

Still, some things do stir me deeply and, where some would cross the line, I go and jump the fence.

Waves do that to me. I simply love to paddle in them. Sometimes -- as in Dick Silberman's photo above -- they are a manageable challenge; other times they're just too much. On those really big days, while some twenty-mile-per-hour-over-the-speed-limit-driver would look at the waves and say "Whoa!" -- I'd calmly and intently think, "I'm going in."

While amid them I'd notice my knees literally shaking, and after a brief glorious display of my talent, I'd find my ego and I, dumped and pummeled on the beach.

The waves are sending me a message, it seems. We have that special line of communication -- not entirely reliable, but eventually something gets through to me. And I accept that sometimes I just need to stay on shore and admire from a safe distance. Sometimes I need to be just a fan.

3 Comments:

Blogger Silbs said...

Great point. Madness v. calculated risk. They say there is a Wild Man within each of us and that he looks for adventure and dangerous things that need to be done. It is balancing the need with judgment that differntiates a madman from an adventurer....which you are.

5:12 AM  
Blogger steve said...

I hear you and your cry for the waves, I feel the same pull when the sea gets rough. Sometimes yoiu have to sit on the sidelines , sometimes youre the only one in the water. Did you ever get to finish your Petrel??

9:45 AM  
Blogger Greg Fojtik said...

Hi Steve. The Petrel is not yet finished. The deck is stripped and the next step is to put in the deck design. I've been pondering on what might be the best way to do that. I paddle more regularly than I build.

5:02 PM  

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