I ran alone. No sound of planes. No sound of automobiles. No sound of people. Just footfalls and the rhythm of my breathing–heavy breathing, at this point. I felt tired and my left quad was starting to complain. With the finish line only a few miles away, I ran through more deep washes, dodged cactus, hand-scrambled up steep slopes, kept a strong pace down a long stretch of dirt road, tiptoed across a narrow wooden footbridge, and slogged through more deep sand. Naturally, the final approach to the finish line required a crawl up the sandy face of a bluff. How appropriate.
Unplugged. Alive. Free. Connected to nature and animals. Part of a team and part of something bigger than myself. A competent horsewoman who, unbelievably, did not feel sore. This was how I felt on the last day of the horse drive.
Walcott’s mention of “each phrase go be soaked in salt” represented well my experience of trying to take notes on the wave- and rain-soaked deck so that I could document the specialized language used aboard the sailing ship and could write the magazine article the way the editor requested. There was no way that I could rely upon my memory for this detail. Given the volume of sea water sloshing about, I couldn’t use the Notes app on my iphone nor could I use a regular notebook. Each moment on the rocking deck and in the hold brimmed with characters, dialogue, and action. I needed a reliable note taking tool.
I pitched a story about a historic Maine schooner leading a secret life as a floating college science classroom to Portland Magazine. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture a slice of one of the few semester-long full-time and full-immersion field science programs in the country.