Recently our water-side neighbors decided to build a two car garage. It will be a great addition for them, and it’s well within their rights. But I’m sure going to miss the tiny peep of a water view we used to have, between trees and rooflines, from the window over our kitchen sink.
Fortunately, we still have a view of the harbor from the front of the house—and from our second floor. That will help with those early morning winter decisions, when paddling is still a go/no-go question. So again, the kitchen water peep shouldn’t be a big deal. (And yes, I realize this is definitely what one friend would call a “first world problem.”)
And yet, without bemoaning our neighbors their choice (it’s going to be a really nice garage), I lament the loss of this small piece of horizon. Looking west has always been a key way to “see what’s coming” for me, and even though surprises certainly still sneak up, I imagine that I’m better prepared.
A quick glance at that tiny slice of harbor (while mindlessly doing the dishes) tells me so many things that losing it feels like I’ve put on horse blinders. Wind direction and strength is just the beginning; the color of the water’s surface and how it reflects the sky speaks volumes about water and air temperature, season, and what’s coming in the next few hours (at least weather-wise).
Other people seem to function just fine without a daily water peep or a westerly view. Me? I get antsy without that perspective. Even if it’s a small lake or pond or some duck puddle in the middle of nowhere, I feel calmest when I get a morning glance across a body of water. As long as it’s big enough to reflect the sky, it grants me the illusion of seeing what’s coming next.
Which means that I chose my travel sport well. No matter where in the world I go to sail, no matter how far inland I go or what the terrain is, I’ll get that water view as soon as I arrive at the boat park—and at the end of the day, that same perspective will be waiting to greet me, no matter how well or poorly the racing went. Maybe that’s why I’m often the first one to arrive, and sometimes the last to leave, storing up that water view until I return the next morning.
In a few more years, once two or three key trees grow a few more feet, we would probably have lost that kitchen water peep anyway—slowly, instead of overnight (with the erecting of a second story wall on that beautiful garage). And just as horses adjust to wearing blinders, I will surely get used to living without it. But every time I wash dishes, I’ll be trying to imagine what color the harbor is, and what that should tell me about the rest of my day.
No matter how great the view to the west, surprises will keep coming. And hopefully the past twenty years of observing that small piece of west-facing perspective have taught me enough to extrapolate what that water peep might be saying. If not, well—maybe I’ll just stop doing dishes.