I park my car outside our Bankers Hill apartment after an 8-9 hour day of tiring work. I come inside burnt out from a long day and begin to think of dinner, how to squeeze in a workout in a crowded gym or maybe a run outdoors, and as the days get shorter, it is harder and harder to get a sunset surf session in before dark.
Especially this time of year with shorter days, it is easy to come home from work and feel as though our day is over and as though all we did today was that 8-9 hours of work we clocked. Yes we do love what we do for work, but you just want to be outside when you live in this pretty city. You feel me?
Lately, it’s been different though.
Every day he sends me a text that tells me he’s on his way home. But some days, I receive another text immediately following that just says, “Paddle board tonight?” to which I respond, “I like your style”. We slip on our suits, grab the bag of our inflatable ISLE Explorer Paddle Board, and head out the door within ten minutes to one of our favorite places to paddle out. Currently, we head to Shelter Island with sunsets paddling through sailboats that leave you dreaming of life on the sea.
What the Italians Taught Me
When I spent the summer in Europe a few years ago there is something that has always stuck with me. I spent time in a small cliff edge town called Corniglia. The family I stayed with spoke absolutely no English so we got by communicating with nods and smiles, but one thing was clearly communicated. Every night, about an hour before sunset, every store in town would close down. Every family would be seen leaving their house all headed in the same direction. They had an Italian name for it, but I don’t remember it. I remember following them to see where they were all off to.
I found that their was a concrete ledge that looked out over the ocean. Everyone met here each night at the same time to sip on their wine, laugh, and tell stories of whatever happened that day all while overlooking the sunset. Young, old, workers, store owners, everyone stopped what they were doing and headed to the ocean. When sunset was over, a few stayed around for another round of drinks, but most trickled their way back to their homes, gelato shops, and jewelry stores and went back to business. The whole world had stopped just not to miss the sunset. I like their style too.
When we grab our paddle board at the end of a long day, I feel just like them. I feel like I’m slowing down the world just long enough to hear about our days, dream of future boats we will own, and breathe in that salty air. The longer we are out there, the quicker the sun seems to be dropping. I notice my warm skin change to goose bumps, signaling that evening ocean breeze has begun. There are only minutes left of this day.
We’ve fallen in love with paddle boarding over this past year because there are no excuses. It’s fast to get ready and throw in the car. It’s easy and takes 2 minutes to inflate and there are no crowds on the water like the 5:00 rush hour at the gym.
We can get into places boats can’t. I can lie there with my fingers trailing along on the water below. I feel the splashes on my legs as the wind blows across the surface.
Chasing sunsets on our paddle board is something different. It’s not taking notice of the sunset as you walk down the street and quickly grabbing your phone to snap a picture through buildings and power lines, then heading on your way to where ever you were going.
It’s letting your whole world stand still and taking in that last precious hour of light.
There’s a John Steinbeck quote from his book “Sweet Thursday” that I read when I returned from Italy.
“I have to go to the sunset now. I’ve come to the point where I don’t think it can go down without me. That makes me seem needed”
Here’s to not letting our days be swallowed by work days. Here is to not only exploring on those two precious weekend days we get a week, but getting outside because you never regret it. Here’s to having the kind of style where you grab your paddle board after work, jump in the car and chase sunsets. Here’s to chasing sunsets slowly and noticing the wind change, the light change, the birds flying home for the night and even the sounds of the city change to a slower pace.
Get yourself a paddle board and start chasing sunsets.
You won’t regret it.