Michaela Merz

A Perfect Day

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I woke up and got out of bed up. It was still dark. I dressed myself and off I went. The lake was calm and the daylight began to dilute the darkness. I pushed my canoe into the water, very careful not to get myself wet. Then I dipped the paddle into the water and headed in the direction of the sunrise. It was quiet; only occasionally did I hear birdcalls. The lake and the banks were deserted. It’s no wonder at this early hour on the weekend. I paddled steadily and enjoyed the smooth, repetitive, gliding motion: the silence, the increasing warmth and light. After 2 hours, I was back, and I made it home before my little one awoke.

We had breakfast outside and wondered what to do on this beautiful morning. The vote was for stand up paddling, so we went back to the lake. My little one sat on the board and I did my best not to lose my balance while standing. It was wonderful. We watched the happenings on the banks of the lake; we struggled with the waves of passing motorboats and chatted with travelers who were underway on passing ships. Because there was very little wind, the sailboats were moving slowly, and we made fun of them and their speed. The brief exchanges with strangers travelling on the lake are fun and filled with banter, cheerful but also very inclusive. Finally, we were a community. After about an hour, we returned to shore. We wanted to stay a bit more. We swam and played in the water.

After lunch, the wind picked up wonderfully and produced small waves on the lake. When it came to speed, the sailboats were much faster than the canoes. Thus, it was clear to us that we would go sailing. This is a major undertaking as I am not very talented when it comes to the technical nature of boats. By the time I managed to tie all the ropes and cords of the dinghy to the right spot, using the right knot, an hour had quickly passed. And there is my little one who is quickly finishing setting up his O’pen BIC, a fast little boat for little sailors.

Gloves, rubber boots, neoprene cap, sunglasses are put on and off we go. It is spraying and foaming, it swirls and sways, never really going the way I would like it to because the wind is stronger than my will and my technical ability. None of this really matters. When my sailboat skims over the waves, when the wind blows past my ears, when the water droplets block my view, I am beyond the reach of everyone and everything. I escape into myself, into an unknown dimension with a feeling of absolute satisfaction, fulfillment and inner joy.

I lash the tape under my feet firmly, extend my body far out of the boat and enjoy the speed, waves, water and my own body. At a certain point, my abdominal muscles begin to protest, but I hold out as long as possible.

When I get out of the boat after 2 hours of sailing, I’m a different person: tired and happy, settled and grounded, with a harmonious soul and aching body.

It’s early in the evening and my little one and I make our way home, and along the way we see a gathering of Rolls-Royce and Bentley car enthusiasts by the road. Quickly we agreed that, although the cars are interesting to look at, we wouldn’t really want to own any of them.

I realize that, despite wearing gloves, I have blisters on my hands, which make them look like I’ve been pulling up trees all day.

So many experiences in one day; so much water in so many different forms. Today has left me with no wish left unfulfilled. A perfect day in sunny Ascona.

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