“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 The Message)
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” (Weil)
To be a successful boater, you have to be paying attention to many things at once. Thankfully, Les and I have each other to point out the things that the other one might not be giving attention to at any given moment. This keeps us from bumping into things like docks, other boats and the walls inside the locks.
Every once in awhile, I will pluck up my courage and offer to drive the boat out of a slip, or up to the dock or even into the lock. So when we left the Columbus marina, I backed us out of the slip with a couple pointers from Les. As we turned a corner towards the dock, he gave me another bit of advice, but I loudly asked him not to tell me right then. Sometimes I don’t want advice, even though I need it. We worked it through, and really I just didn’t want to feel stupid. So we agreed I wasn’t stupid, I just needed to be reminded of how close I was getting to the other boats. I wasn’t paying attention to all the factors.
Yesterday, we needed to go through three locks to get to our anchorage for the night. (We will go through ten locks total by the end of this trip.) The three were fairly close in succession, so we had lots of opportunity to fine tune our approach to catching the bollard with our lines.
In each lock, there are several floating bollards that you throw a line over to hold the boat near the wall. We use two lines to hold us in, and then use boat hooks and fenders to keep the boat from banging into the wall. Usually we are going down river, so the lock releases the water and the water gently drops us down.
But when you go up river, the lock fills up and floats the boat to the top. We have to be more attentive in this situation, as the incoming water tends to whirlpool and push the boat towards the wall. We brace the boat off the wall with the boat hooks, while holding onto the ropes, and in my case take pictures at the same time.
Each lock is pretty similar, and for this trip we’ve agreed to use the same procedure each time to master our technique. Les drives up to the bollard and I stand ready to keep the back of the boat off the wall, as the current and momentum usually pushes the back end toward the wall first. He catches the bollard with his line, then eases the boat forward and I catch it with my line. Sometimes one of us misses getting the line attached, and we have to try again. Sometimes it’s windy in the tank and we have to adjust for that, too.
Today, we went through the seventh lock of our trip. We each got the lines on the first time, and rejoiced in that success. But we reminded ourselves that we have three more locks to go, so we can’t let down our guard, we still have to pay attention for each lock we encounter.
After completing our day, we pulled into an inlet behind the lock, near a boat ramp where we could take Kokomo for her evening walk.
The need to pay attention while boating is paramount to our physical safety. Paying attention to our surroundings, also lends itself to some awesome sightings of goodness, like noticing the moon appear over the trees in our little cove last night.
How does paying attention enrich your life?