by Robert P. Barsanti
It took all summer, but I finally put the kayak in the water. It took one little white lie, one big bald faced lie, and a lucky parking place in Monomoy, but I was able to settle into the craft, deal with pegs that weren’t quite where I wanted, and head off for a longish paddle.
I am good with any activity that involves cup holders. Bicycles, ellipticals, baby carriages, golf carts, and kayaks all include the ability of holding a cool beverage without spilling it. Now, the kayak involves some tricky arrangement of bungie cords and placement of the cupholder on top of a rear bulkhead, but it can be done. Unless you do an Eskimo roll.
In fifty some odd years of living, I have finally learned that the great luxury of life is not wealth but time. You don’t measure real riches with a bank book but a calendar. When I was young and saw a long parade of calendar pages lining the road into the future, I was happy to trade time for money. I spent afternoons at photocopiers creating packets that students looked at for thirty minutes and then buried in binders. I stood attentive at jobs where I could calculate how much money I made every ten minutes. But since wisdom has slowly worn away the common sense I once had, I have found that time is the great expense that we blow through.
I spent this summer in profitable ways: I cleaned gutters and emptied trash cans; I made dinners and vacuumed up spiderwebs; I scrubbed toilets and cashed checks. But in that time, I didn’t hit enough golf balls, surf enough waves, read enough books, or put the kayak in the water. We only regret the sins we never committed or the golf balls we didn’t lose.
I dipped the paddles and headed away from the beach and into the mooring field. Since the end of Race Week, the path has become somewhat clearer out here in the floating parking lot. On a beautiful late summer day, I paddled past empty runabouts and empty sailboats and aimed at Coatue. Labor Day comes…