It was 60 degrees and partly cloudy when my husband asked if I wanted to take a last ride in our dinghy before he rolled it out behind the shed and covered it for the winter. Sigh. I’m a fair-weather boater. When I get cold, I tend to stay that way for a long, long time so late October is well past my season. I love the little boat though, so I hemmed and hawed, and finally agreed, pulling on a hooded sweatshirt and packing my windbreaker and a fleece.
We trailed the boat one town over to Hingham Harbor, which is about five times the size of ours. Depending on the channel you use, it leads out to Massachusetts Bay or to Boston Harbor and is pocked with small islands. Its waters wend around World’s End, a park I’ve written about before, presenting stunning views of glacial drumlins mounding up through the trails. I’ve never toured the harbor by boat.
And, yea, I got cold and the water got choppy, and we had to cut our scenic trip short when the wind blew up swells too great for the twelve-foot Meggie Lou. But before that happened, we motored past the high tide line marking granite islands, and within a few yards of a pack of cormorants preening their feathers and hanging their wings to dry. We churned through the afternoon sparkle on the water, envying the lobster boat far ahead cutting through washing-machine waves with ease. We toyed with following him, but steady rollers began to lift our engine out of the water, making forward momentum impossible, which meant it was time to come about.
When we turned, we had a long trip back. I pulled my hood over my baseball cap and held it closed with my hands. With the wind at our back, I watched the October sky unfurl in length like lead-colored batting, and stitch itself to the corners of our patch-worked autumn earth.