Thursday, September 11, 2014

An 8 mile an hour day

Last Friday Al and I had the opportunity of joining Gerald and Cheri on their yacht as they cruised down the Illinois River.  This was one little leg on their journey through the Great Loop, which is taking them from Florida, up the east coast, through the Great Lakes and then down rivers, back to the Gulf Coast.

We met them in Joliet early Friday morning so we would get through an open bridge before 7:30.  Next we headed for the first lock.  The lock dropped us 35 feet down to continue down the river. Then we cruised at about 7-8 miles an hour about 17 miles to the next lock.

It was a warm muggy day, but it felt great on the boat.  We watched the herons and egrets and pelicans along the banks.  We waved to the men working on the barges we passed, and to those working the locks and bridges...this is called river etiquette.  It was peaceful and relaxing.  Gerald and Cheri are new friends and wonderful hosts.

THEN we arrived at the second lock and learned much more about river life, and the pace you can move.  It took 3 hours before it was our turn to get into the lock and lowered to the next stage.  For 3 hours we circled and floated.  Nothing to do about it.  It just takes this long.  Once we got into the lock it took an hour for the gates to open and let us out.  There was a huge barge on the other side of the gate, and the tug was in the lock with us.  We had no idea why it was taking so long...but it did.

Finally 4 hours later we were back up to speed...8 mph.  It felt like we were really moving along.  It was delightful.  We shared a good lunch, took a nap, watched the river life, and shared conversation.

We were trying to make a 5:00 docking deadline.  It was going to be close, and then at about 4:40 a storm blew in.  Cheri, in her bright yellow raincoat, was outside trying to lasso the posts(I'm sure there is a better term for this), while Gerald was manuevering the boat to keep it from hitting the dock and a large branch that was sticking off of the dock.  We made at least 3 passes attempting to get close enough.  Cheri is outside...the wind is whipping, the rain is lashing, the lightening and thunder are was very exciting!

Finally we had success as Gerald got us close and Cheri pulled us in at about 4:55.

What an interesting day.  I am still processing what I learned and experienced.

We did learn that there is another world out there on the river.  Not just the jet skiers, fishermen, and recreational life. There are people who live at an 8 mile an hour pace, and just maybe there is a lot to learn about our own pace.  (It strikes me that "In the fulness of time" Jesus came, when there were no cars, or planes, mass communication, multi-media, etc.  He walked with his disciples day after day.)

We also learned once again that we are not in control.  You have to go with the flow, or be satisfied to do circles and float for a while...that's just the way things go.  And sometimes God knows that is exactly what we need.

We learned that life is better when everybody uses river etiquette, works together, and appreciates one another.

We learned that it takes lots of help from others to navigate the ups and downs of life...on the river.

We learned that there is a lot to learn!  And it is good to take some time to find out about what is out there, around us, behind the scenes, making life happen.  We are dependant on those who live the 8 mile an hour life for many things in life.  We are all connected.

We learned to take a chance, make a friend, enjoy the ride, watch the beauty, wave at people, thank God.