I’d fallen asleep in my clothes the night before — woken up early to sail — my hands shook and I felt a certain foreignness while bouncing over the lake’s waves just miles from where I was born.
We were in Fort Collins at Long Pond, a stretching body of private water, surrounded by ridgelines of parallel-running roads and boulder-filled beaches, which wag down into draws and arching collections of cottonwoods. There was nobody else on the water — a slight breeze. And something had happened to the bottom of the clouds, wisps of white seemed pulled down and the sun had lowered beneath them, emitting a line of golden light to separate the Rockies and the sky. I was with Sean (the new-age guy) and Max, the sober sailor and owner of the Hobie Cat — a toy-like vessel with an orange and red sail and broad metal boom. Lying prone with our mouths to the clouds, Sean and I took turns taking hits off the new O.penVape we had purchased.
It’s not hard to get carried away.
Actually it’s easy — when you are high — to lose yourself in the blue lights at the end of a vaporizer. Without the feeling of smoke in your lungs, vaporizers enable you to take things too far. But the high we experienced released me from the emptiness I felt that morning. I laughed, Sean laughed and we spoke about everything and nothing at all.
I had grown up sailing this lake with my childhood friend Max, but since moving back to Colorado from Los Angeles this was my first time sailing and things are different now. We are no longer kids, and I decidedly don’t live in Fort Collins anymore. It is when I am back home I see how much I have changed.
I am heavier now, but not any taller.
I listen to talk radio and smoke more weed.
I prefer documentaries.
Change was our topic of conversation as we took turns adjusting our life vests, and passing around a Ziploc bag of pistachio nuts. Max steered while Sean and I sat at the end of the yellow tramp and let our legs hang over, cruising along the coast at no more than 5 miles per hour. Sean’s eyes faded with a grin into the back of his head. It was only his second time on a sailboat and he reveled at the simple ingenuity of moving across water.
What’s most interesting about sailing, and sailing high for that matter, is the looseness of it all. So much is left up to the wind, and instead of trying to avoid the wind you have to hit it head on. No one is ever in control. You may be able to take the boat in vague directions, but in the end you’re victim only to a breeze.
As we crisscrossed atop the water Sean said: “There’s so much hush, you know, in the wind, it’s like my ears aren’t conscious.”
It reminded me of a few years back when Max and I took the boat out and got caught in a storm. The clouds built over the sail and everything was quiet until the sound of electricity danced at the top of the mast. You could see it even, the flashes of red — our hair standing straight up. We decided to do nothing about it. We watched the colors and without a worry floated to shore. It was in my naiveté that I faked nonchalance. It was in our naiveté that we were lucky.
Max, Sean and I moved from corner to corner on the lake. I smoked throughout the afternoon until I grew tired. Around six o’clock (five hours later) we settled up at the shore — our stoned sea legs made everything seem unattached. We were still in Fort Collins but I couldn’t feel it under my feet.