Carelessly Adrift

Carelessly Adrift

I routinely take pictures of my feet. What’s worse, I then send those pictures to people. Regular people. People who just want to get through their day without having to see my feet. It’s not just that I love my feet, which I do, well, except for my numb foot, I don’t care for that one too much, but I take pictures to prove that I was indeed reveling in the splendor of my current location. This foot picture taking began a long time ago, back when I would spend many winter weeks walking the sandy beaches of Anna Maria, and then Siesta Key, and Captiva, and finally Marco. I’d snap a photo of my feet in the sand, and I’d send it to anyone who I thought might have their day made worse by knowing my current delightful state of being. As I describe it, it appears to me now that the foot photos were rooted in a mean spirited game of one-upmanship, but please know that the photos were only sent to friends and family. I reserve my most annoying personality traits for those close enough to not feel genuinely offended.

But the foot photos didn’t stop at the beaches of western Florida- even if they did become less a staple of a winter trip to anywhere warm- they regained popularity during my Lake Geneva summers. The primary targets of my foot photos remain my brother a couple select friends. I send them to my brother in the event that he is having a particularly hard day at his sterile downtown office. I want to let him see the blue splendor of my own mobile office. The photos, now taken and sent courtesy of my phone, will usually include the bow of a boat, some blue water, a distant green treeline, and at the bottom of the shot, resting comfortably on the soft white cushion, there will be my foot, or feet. Not necessarily all of my foot, but at least a few toes. Just so he knows how much better my feet have it than his.

It’s in the foot photo fetish that I’ve discovered my new passion in life. I talk often about boat rides. Heck, lots of people talk about boat rides. I love Lake Geneva boat rides, and judging by the 2500 or so boats that cruise the water on any given weekend, I’m not alone in my affinity for a relaxing cruise. My preferred speed for an around the lake cruise is usually around 12 miles per hour. That speed seems to be right in the sweet spot between actually going fast, and puttering along like my father prefers. He does it to save gas (no joke), but I do it to find a nice middle ground. I love going fast too, and when my children beg me to go for a whip, I’ll respond with a brief burst of throttle that has a way of making me feel the same age as them. But it’s today that I have to tell you about a long forgotten expression of boat enjoyment. It’s not the boat ride that I find as enticing these days, it’s the boat drifting.

Or bobbing if that makes more sense. I find that nothing makes me happier on a bright summer day than an hour or two spent floating. I’ll drive the boat out into the middle of the lake somewhere, usually some equidistant point between Conference and Black Points with 135 feet of water beneath me, then I’ll kill the engine, turn the radio low, and just be. The rocking of the waves is an elixir for my soul, and the stress that I keep handy at all times has a way of fading for however long I decide to bob. I spent one such afternoon about two weeks ago, and had the foresight to bring not only a newspaper and a large glass of lemonade, but also a camera. By watching the lazy video, you might get the sense that it was a rough day, but I assure you it was anything but. The waves that seem to rock the boat violently were little more than gentle hiccups on an otherwise tranquil afternoon. The art of the bob is not to be confused with the sort of party bobbing that occurs at times on the shore of Big Foot Beach. That’s an entirely different sort of stationary boating, and not the sort of which I’m trying to describe to you today.

There’s much to be said about a beautiful boat ride. But what’s forgotten at times is how much more mellow and refreshing that same ride can be when the engine is killed and progress is no longer measured in distance around the lake, but in distance drifted towards shore. On any given day, it’s easy to spot the drifters of Geneva. Their boats are floating, silent. They may be resting in the bow or sunning on the stern deck, listening to Mojave 3 sing about drifting. Remember those stifling hot days from this glorious summer of 2010? Those sort of days spent drifting aimlessly on Geneva were anything but. A quick swim chases away any mounting heat, and I’ve had no better times in my life than those hot days spent drip-drying in the sun on a casually drifting boat. In the middle of a winter that I fear will come all too quickly, I’ll find myself longing for those days with such immeasurable impatience. There will be more of those days in September and October for sure, but when those lazy days of a true Lake Geneva summer return, it won’t be hard to find me. I’ll be the guy, bobbing carelessly, surrounded by deep blue waters, taking pictures of my feet.

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