This is kind of an addition to the “About Me” – but instead of addressing the business side of myself this short description addresses who I am as a person.
…It’s funny how we look back on life.
I think I was about ten maybe twelve – sailing on mountain lake in Northern Ontario in a 14 foot racing sailboat called a Laser II. I had both standard sails up (the Jib, and the Mainsail) and it was a very windy day. I was doing quite well for myself, controlling a 300 lb boat from flipping with only the weight of my 100-something pound body strapped into a harness. Leaning over the side of the boat as far as I could – while still steering with the tiller, I should have realized that it was simply too much boat for someone so young. Being adventurous – and more or less without fear – I went out with simply a sense of excitement and adventure. About 30 mins out and not long after the wind really pick up I found myself struggling for control and unable to keep a heading – pushing the limits of the boat – I was healed-over more than 45 degrees most of the time…yet still having fun in the struggle. Shortly after this – the boat caught a gust that I couldn’t balance and it went over.
Being the reasonably agile sailor I was, I managed to do something called “Dry-Dunking” the boat – where a person climbs over the side of the boat as it flips over (only getting your feet wet – if your good – and I was) grabbing the Keel (Centerboard) and righting the boat in what ultimately is a 360 degree rotation about its long axis. Something however went wrong – and the lines to the sails got tangled – and so as the mast came back up the sails caught wind – dragging the boat down again. So over the side I went and for a second time managed to Dry-Dunk the Boat as it was flipping. This went on twice again in quick succession before my strength failed me, and in losing my footing fell in the water as the mast came down over me. Although I didn’t notice it at the time – I was tangled in the sheets which were in turn and to my great disadvantage tangled with the mast and sails.
What couldn’t have been more than a few moments seemed like an eternity as time seemed to stretch and slow as I was dragged down with the mast. It’s weird – but everything was peaceful and warm – looking up at the silhouette of the boat against the sun and sky….finally I snapped too and managed to untangle myself – allowing my life-jacket to bring me to the surface, where I managed to pull myself on to the inverted sailboat and then wait to be rescued.
This was just the first in a string of adventures and attempts – both physically and academic – that I have fought against odds and persevered. Shortly after the sailboat indecent – I saved a fellow kayak-er from drowning after his skirt failed and he got stuck upside down – having to abandon my kayak and swim to him and then both of us to shore. I have traveled around the world in search of new perspectives and a love of photography and on more than one occasion found myself either fighting or negotiating my way out of danger. I have taught Health and Nutrition in Africa, Lived in India, Traveled through Turkey and Thailand, and soloed on snowshoes in over 15 feet of show on a 10 day trek in the Canadian Rockies. Just last year Sept. 2009 – I was drinking on our family sailboat with a friend at 2am and ended up saving the life of a drunk 400lb power boater that had slipped on the dock – hit his head – landing in the water between our sailboat and the marina dock with no way out of the water and no one but us around to pull him out and get him help.
My point in all of this is:
…that my life has been interesting, rewarding, and forgiving – and that I would be the “fool of all fools” if I did not recognize and appreciate this – I have lived my life with adventure, passion, and in some cases a little bit of courage. It is something I will continue to do both in my work when possible and in whatever future adventures lay before me.