|The Owl and the Pussycat sailed to sea|
in a beautiful, pea-green boat...
Image from the MirrorOnline
There are a few things in modern life, undertaken by couples, which require sustained, closely coordinated physical effort. Dancing, and folding large tarps come to mind.
And then there's rowing.
To row a boat together - each with a pair of oars - well... first there are the thousand or so strokes of bickering.
Our cockpit is on the small side, so we can bump if we're a little out of sync. You know. Scratch a nose. Adjust a cushion. Look at the birds.
Both of us are facing aft, and I'm usually at the aft, mid-ship oars (they're longer and I'm bigger). My job is to look over my shoulder as I begin to pull, matching Anke's stroke, and thereafter maintain a steady rhythm. Oh... and if a little bit of oar steering is needed, I favor the correct oar, and maybe even call out RIGHT OAR! or LEFT OAR! in a voice loud enough to hear.
You'd think that's simple enough. It is but it ain't. Takes a while to get each of those down, and a while longer to get 'em in combinations.
Anke, at the forward oars, is continuous power. Her job is to watch out for any quirks in my cadence and avoid collision with my shoulders. She too needs to be steady on the oars, to keep all four moving free. She's got to respond to steering commands promptly, and occasionally shout out some of her own if I've drifted off somewhere.
You'd think that sounds simple enough. It is but it ain't.
But the bickering dies down after a day or two, and the magic sets in...
The magic of moving our vessel... gliding across calm water or working our way into a headwind. The magic of passing through vast and wild land- and seascapes. The magic of our bodies working together in sync, muscles aglow and warm with the effort.
We pull together as one. Our hearts beat as one. We face the work and dangers as one. We savor the pleasures as one, not least those of our own company.