I was three weeks old the first time I set sail in a boat. Even though I was born in land-locked Kansas, my parents still managed to find a lake on which to to enjoy the summer breeze and the gentle sound of waves lapping against the hull. Water has been the single constant in my widely-traveled life…be it as a passenger or a rower, I’ve never wandered far from the pull of the tide or the banks of a river.

My most vivid memory is of the night we weathered Hurricane David aboard my parent’s boat in Virginia. My father decided we needed to move the boat to a more sheltered location, and thought we would have plenty of time to make the trip before the eye of the storm drew close…perhaps the fact that he was a career Army, not Navy, officer should have prompted us to question his judgement. As David caught us in the middle of the open, unprotected water of the Chesapeake Bay, my mother strapped me in a life jacket and locked me into my little sleeping bunk below deck (more questionable judgement: are you supposed to lock someone into a boat that might capsize? Not much need for a life jacket if you’re trapped below, right?). Obviously I managed to survive the night, but it does provide me fabulous ammunition with which to harass my parents.

I created this image because, when it comes to sailing, I prefer my seas calm and my winds fair. I prefer the days where the sun glints off the top of the water, scattering “poor man’s diamonds” across the surface. I prefer the puffy white clouds that tower high above and take the shapes of animals as they float by in the gentle summer breeze.