Is your recreation green? In Indiana, sailing is a green recreation that can be enjoyed from April through October. I'm a fair weather sailor myself, but there are still some warm sailing days ahead before the days become frosty. Over the summer my son took his second year of summer sailing lessons at the Lake Monroe Sailing Association Camp. It was fun to watch kids as young as 8 take the boats out to harness the wind.
While observing, I contemplated the sound of the breeze in trees, the waves, the birds soaring above, chattering in the trees and the clanking of halyards on the sailboats -- the same sounds that I remembered from sailing. It all comes together -- the health and economic benefits of nature and living "green" or being earth-friendly.
The sailing experience makes me think of how green has to be not only in home and work routines but in relationships as well.
"The lessons of the green recreation of sailing now come in loud and clear."
Before my sons sailed, we used to paddle out onto the lake in our inflatable nine-foot Sevylor boat, anchor, jump off, splash around with the blue herons and the geese, and I'd pop grapes and cheese chunks into their mouths like baby otters. Now that they are sailors though, they want to sail off with friends, not Mom. So here I am. No sailboat that I can handle by myself, no one to go out with on our inflatable boat.
In looking for my sailor though, I look for someone who takes care of the natural environment, someone who knows the serenity and challenge of free wind on a body of water. Does this person take disposables with him on a sailing expedition or reusables? How does he demonstrate that his health is related to the health of the world? What does he think is free and how does he use those things? Is he aware of the wind, the wind's direction of going green? Has he changed course or is he oblivious? These are all questions that I never thought of asking when younger even though sailing was one of the activities that developed my appreciation of the natural world.
Coming from a family that sailed on Lake Michigan, I followed Captain Dad's instructions as a teenager but more often daydreamed and dove off the bow. However, the lessons of the green recreation of sailing now come in loud and clear. These lessons include knowing which way the wind is coming from, setting a course but adjusting your sails accordingly to earth's happenings, and knowing when it's best to go it alone or head back to shore or another shore.
Whether single, once-married, or married, being green should be a central part of all of them. When will my sailor sail into my life? Only the wind knows. However, at least now I know what to look for. Until then I may have to try handling a small sailboat with a trailer by myself or more likely downsize to a smaller inflatable boat, build my rowing muscles, and let the wind and the currents take me where it will.
Yes, the wind is free if you use it wisely. Are you experiencing the serenity of green recreations like free wind?
Elisa K. Pokral is Media and Education Director at the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District. She can be reached at .