This post began as “Maiden Voyages in Vermont Dory”, but the title struck me as somewhat tone deaf at a time when we endeavor to sidestep gender sloppiness. Especially since I’m not a maiden. Nor a bachelor. Nor, frankly, does gender matter at all. And so, “First Forays in Vermont Dory” was born. Better. But now I’m realizing that “foray” borrows unnecessarily from the bellicose verbiage of our day… Busy brain!
And this — busyness of the brain — is actually the pithy point of this post.
Yesterday morning and this morning mark my much anticipated transition into rowing. First forays in my newly acquired Vermont dory, a still half baked but enthusiastic embrace of early morning (and early evening) rowing as a counterpoint to my bike rides. More on this rowing and riding balance in a moment, but first a little context.
I’ve been lusting after an Adirondack Guideboat, well, probably since the late 1970’s when I enjoyed my first rowed ride in this quintessentially ADK conveyance at the Ausable Club. During the early days of the pandemic my mind returned this timeless watercraft, as elegant today as it was in the 1800s, and somehow inviting wistfuldaydreams of calmer, simpler times. I connected with the good folks at Adirondack Guideboat, and began to educate myself. They tried to convince me that a 14′ Vermont Dory, their most popular boat, was better suited to my location. Three summers later, after a 2022 return visit to revisit consideration with brother owners, Justin and Ian Martin, I decided it was time to commit.
That green beauty above is my new skiff, a cherry trimmed Kevlar Vermont dory perfectly suited to ply the early morning and early evening waters of Lake Champlain.(Source: Adirondack Guideboat or Vermont Dory)
And what fun it is!
Yes, rowing is core and upper body exercise, both having been too long neglected by me. Biking in warmer months and skiing in colder months keep the bottom half of my body in decent shape. But it turns out that plunking keys on a keyboard do little good and plenty of bad for the body. I’m hoping that mixing it up between the dory and the bike might begin to get my upper and lower del es back in sync. Rowing my way towards a healthier body.
But that’s only part of the package. Remember, mens sana in corpore sano. A healthy mind and a healthy body. So resyncing the bod via two oars and a green dory would be good. Resyncing the mind *AND* bod? Genius!
And this brings me back to busy brain. I’ve long understood that an angsty mind — ants in my gray matter?! — is a deficit worth addressing. But understanding it and resolving it are two different things.
To be sure, exercise in general is helpful for me. Direct the excess energy into motion, and the body feels better. I think better. I sleep better. I husband better.
Our recent 2-week walkabout reminded me how paddling (and hopefully rowing) settles the cerebrum and cerebellum. Oar-sports lend themselves to mindfulness. For me, at least. Physical but repetitive. Meditative, at least in the settings and conditions that appeal to me.
So I’m throwing myself into the arms of a 14’ dory and a pair of oars. Both trimmed in cherry. Both as handsome as they are nimble and water worthy.
Thank you, Adirondack Guideboat. I look forward to this rowing life.