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My reality check just bounced, I feel like a groom left at the alter. I have committed to my true love, summer but she has left me here standing alone. I miss her dearly, all the good times we had together, her gentle warm caresses. I mourn the loss of her and while I know I will find another I want her back, I need her, she was my soul mate.

the summer wind

Our entire living space is 4’x 6′, throw a stinky old dog in the middle of that and you have a pretty small living space for two souls to share. We still have over a month till the first day of winter and Emily is already going stir crazy. Our relationship is a steady as a rock for exactly 33.33 percent of the time. The other 66.67 percent is an even split between being petrified of her and wanting to strangle her. This is the time of year I start fantasying about my beloved Hallberg Rassy 42, at 750k she is affordable and the perfect size to keep my millennial bride snug as a bug in a rug. Hot showers, diesel heat and a real square bed are all luxuries we can easily live without for a full 8 months of the year but come November we start to pace around a like two caged animals, wild and ready to chew our own foot off to escape the cold confined reality of living aboard a very small yacht during the Pacific Northwest winter.

mistress summer

Winter may test our resolve and commitment to this lifestyle but she won’t beat us. I was once asked how I do things like paddle into a 20′ wave or ride my bike off a near vertical cliff without giving it a second thought. The only answer I can ever give is that you have to be 100% committed. If you hesitate for even a single second that wave will chew you up and spit you out. Perched on the cliff I could focus and try to pick my line, I could look for every obsacle that could send me to the ER and waste and entire day trying to get the nerve to pedal over. If I did any of these things I would be focussing on failure not success, instead I know I’m 100% committed, drop in and do my best.

“That which does not make us stronger kills us” ~AEO Redneck Soup

When I threw a dart at the board of life and being an adventure travel writer/photographer I only knew one thing and that was if I didn’t give it my all I would end up like the rest of the competition out there working a full time job to support a hobby. Well I don’t have any hobbies, just a singular lifestyle to eek out every drop from beginning to end and somehow find a way to regurgitate a few words that match the feeling I had in the snapshots we take of our lives. To somehow share something that can’t be shared, emotions that can’t be replicatied and singular experiences that literally will only avail themselves for a split second in time. During the long warm days of summer there are more stories to tell than there are stars in the sky. We fill every second of every day and even nap-time is exciting. For all of our thousands of differences we share even more in common and warm weather tops the list. Like innocent children we run down long empty stretches of beach shedding our clothes and our inhibitions. We share a joint suffrage of a total and complete lack of forward thinking. Warm balmy breezes fill our lungs to capacity, we breath in life and exhale out stories with less effort than it takes to blink our eyes.

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”  ~ John Lennon

Then one day without the slightest inkling of warning it hits us like a blizzard to the soul, winter… Bone chilling, wet, dark, short days. The walls close in on us, tempers are short and patience is shorter. In all my days on this earth I have never been a winter person, two winters in Wisconsin and 7 in Tahoe haven’t been able to convert me. I have skied countless hundreds of days, snow shoed thousands of miles and explored every inch of winter without finding a single spark in my heart for her.  Now standing here alone, left at the alter my only choice for survival is to embrace her. To find beauty in her grey eyes and warmth in her dark soul. To make winter my mistress is the only way to survive, if I think about it too much I will fail. I must throw my arms around her, strip naked and dive in head first, If I don’t commit 100%…

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” — Sir Rannulph Fienness

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