âMy ship leaves its dock. May my sails hold her winds,â wrote the Roman poet Ovid in his book about Roman calendar, Fasti. Ovid, an exile from Rome, often employed such seafaring motifs to describe his wanderings and nostalgia for times and places past. In his latest travel piece, Moon Wind At Large: Sailing Hither and Yon, Constant Waterman [aka Matthew Goldman], plays the role of the wistful Ovid, and the southern coastline of Rhode Island, among other locales, the wind within his sails.
Waterman begins his journey at the mouth of the Connecticut River, taking him through waterways and shipping lanes, from the ancient glacial deposit known as Fishers Island to the protected shoals of Point Judith Pond. He ventures with his friend and mentor, Moon Wind, a 26-foot, twin-keeled sloop.
âShe winked at me and, of course, I fell in love,â states Waterman. âShe was just over thirty; experienced: the ideal age for a mistressâevery manâs dream. I named her Moon Wind.â
Narragansett Bay is often the terminus of Watermanâs journeys, but Moon Wind At Large strikes back and forth between locales. Waterman loves only the experience and his intimations, and does not care about outside criticism.
âEveryone told me as a boy to keep away from water and little boats,â writes Waterman. âI could have pursued a normal lifeâŠInstead, this Sunday morning finds me on a transient mooring in a lovely sheltered cove by the mouth of the river with the low sun warming my back and some thick, dark French Roast amply warming the rest for me.â
Waterman engages in a drifting, colloquial dialogue with the harbors and habitats he meets along the way. Moon Wind is his mindâs anchor, however, and care for its well-being throughout his adventures is paramount.
âFolks have a way of leaving things out in the channels hereaboutsâŠnumerous unlighted threats to navigation,â states Waterman while coursing through Little Narragansett Bay. âMoon Wind has a fondness for lobster pot buoys; she sheared the bushing on our outboard just last summer by catching one between her prop and the trim tab.â
As shimmering as the reflection upon one of Rhode Islandâs coastal ponds, Waterman introspects often, negotiating the surrounding visual stimuli and trying to place them in linear parallels to his own experience. Sometimes he writes for observation alone.
âWaking up on Point Judith Pond is always a pleasure,â states Waterman. âIts serenity whelms my senses. The light was diffuse, the water a silvery shimmer.â
Other times, the conversation within his mind goes deeper, and one may feel lost within the pages of Watermanâs desires, hopes, concerns, and impressions which flow out of his bookâs pages.
âPeople donât believe me when I tell them about my mermaid,â opines Waterman. âWhatâs a storyteller to do? Stick to the unvarnished truth? Where I come from, everyone expects plenty of varnishâsix to eight coats every spring.â
One does not leave, however, without a warning, a caveat for the everyman, and a direct one at that, fitting for the often variable and tempestuous moods of the ocean.
âI love the folks who come up to me after a reading and tell me how much they enjoy my stories, then walk out the door, get in their cars, and go home without my book,â writes Waterman. âI can only hope that their televisions suffer astigmatism, and that termites conspire to eat their library cards.â
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For more information about Moon Wind At Large and Constant Waterman, visit constantwaterman.com or www.breakawaybooks.com.