Ergometers are the rowing machines that rowers use for training. An ergo training session is generally tough, exhausting, and you don’t go anywhere. Today on the ocean was a bit like that.
The wind sprang up this morning from an unhelpful quarter. The usual ocean rower’s solution to this problem is to put out the sea anchor to preserve ground gained. So that is what I did.
However, I am in an unhelpful current, too, so the sea anchor only exaggerated the effect of the adverse drift. So I brought it back in again.
I spent the rest of the day carving a zigzag across the ocean. Slowly, slowly, I’d gain a bit of ground. Then I’d stop for a meal break and lose it all again.
You might imagine that this would be the ultimate exercise in futility and frustration, but actually I didn’t see it that way. Even if I wasn’t making much progress, at least I was limiting the damage, and getting a decent workout to boot.
And I’ve learned the hard way that there’s no point getting frustrated with the ocean or the wind. It’s not their fault, and they’re not going to change, just because I want them to.
Nope, I’ll save my emotional energy for people who are willfully contrary, refusing to accept the evidence that we are irrevocably changing our world, or refusing to do anything about it. It might often feel as pointless as arguing with the wind, but surely, one day, it will make a difference, and that hope keeps me going.
My purple ergo session today reminded me of the long ergo sessions I used to do with my friends at the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco. So in honour of them, I snapped this shot of me in my SERC beanie. Thanks, guys, and I hope to see you the next time I am in the city.
The other reason I went back to the oars rather that sitting it out on the sea anchor was that I wanted to carry on listening to “The Power Of One”, and the rule is that I can only listen to audiobooks while I am rowing. It’s a good rule!
UncaDoug – loved the story about the Peruvian villagers growing vegetables. Responsibility, empowerment, collective intelligence. Quite possibly the route to solving most of the (human) world’s problems!
Joan – thanks for the book recommendations. The Power Of One is going to be a tough act to follow, so I’ll have a rummage around on my iPod and see what I can find.
John – thanks for the miles, and well done on raising the money by the sweat of your brow!
Christy, and Rick in Colorado – you are absolutely right about the power of one, that in our everyday lives we are setting an example for others. It all contributes to that much-needed cultural shift. No action is too small. It ALL makes a difference.
Rico – good thinking. The placebo effect is mighty powerful.
TC – love the Thomas Jefferson quote. Thanks!
Joseph Kendall, Hans Verwey, Robert Marshalkowski, Chris Ferreira, Alexandra Stevens, Catherine Thomas, Courtney Elwood, Brent Malmstrom. Thank you for sponsoring these miles – it has been a hard day’s work for Roz.