I’ve been feeling pangs of guilt about leaving Finn in the water so long without sailing her or cleaning the slime and barnacles off her hull. By the time we haul her, she’ll look downright neglected. It keeps me up at night. I hate seeing neglected boats: carelessly furled sails, slimy waterlines, messy lines. I imagine my poor vessel riding dutifully on her mooring, gulls roosting on her and algae carpeting her nether regions, the cold deepening and the north wind dominating. Pity for her sweeps over me.  Self-disgust clenches my stomach. How can I neglect such a faithful beauty?

So you say she’s an inanimate object and that I shouldn’t kick myself so hard for letting less than three weeks elapse without checking on her. It’s true: I barely have time to scribble stories, go to work, and tend to the family and the house, let alone take off for the boat.

“Inanimate” isn’t entirely accurate, though. Aboard her, you can share her joy under the hand of the wind. You can feel her vibrations, ride along as she bounds over the waves, exult in her creaks and thrums and the gurgle and gulp of the water she loves to splash through. She comes alive with your hand on her tiller. To leave her waiting, untended, may not be a crime. It’s simply rude.

Whether we haul her out for good this Friday or sail her on Sunday and haul her the following week, I vow to find the time to get to her and make everything right between us. She deserves as much, just as she deserves to know that Seaborn, the book she partially inspired, got a resounding endorsement from the School Library Journal and was nominated for a Cybil award. Wharf Rat and Seaborn appeared on my old friend John Greiner-Ferris’s blog, too. http://actionbobmarkle.blogspot.com/ Thanks for the plug, the kind words, and the good memories, John.

Now I’m going to check the weather forecast for the third time this morning. Hold on, Finn. I’ll be tending to you soon.

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