Thursday, August 29, 2013

Patti's watery adventure

Perhaps you read the information about Patti Lee Gauch, who will be half of the faculty for our upcoming Weekend on the Water retreat. Did her reference to adventures on the Great Lakes pique your curiousity?

Ours, too. So we pried a story out of her:
"My father had a small 30 foot cruiser when I was a teen, and, because he had learned to navigate with a compass, he went across great stretches of water by direct reckoning. He took chances, too, though he didn't always mean to. 

"Once in crossing over from Lake Huron to Georgian Bay, we ran into a fierce storm. Within what seemed like minutes, giant waves were slanting at us like rain, smashing over the bow.  Dishes fell off the shelves. My mother hid in the bunk room, scared for her life. After an hour of this pounding, there was only my father and me trying to get through 12 or 15 foot waves. Relentless. Talk about human beings feeling small.

"Our map said there was a bay somewhere through the slanting rain and waves, called Smith Bay.  My father dead reckoned for it, though we could barely see. It seemed impossible. I felt this was the endless storm — when suddenly, we could see a wilderness shore, then a kind of corner in the bank of trees. We headed for it,  wallowing in the giant waves as we changed direction — my mother crying — when as suddenly, we were in a bay, quiet, almost flat, the wind having almost disappeared. Almost no sound. I crawled up on the bow to help my father with directions. When I looked up on a distant bank to my right, there was a small, white-steepled church: it looked homemade. 

"I found out later that it was the church of a lingering Indian tribe. I felt, as a seventeen year old, that they had somehow saved us."
Consider attending the retreat in November to hear more from this acclaimed author and editor, who can help us all learn how to add adventure and meaning to our own stories.

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