My 5K Attempt

Written By: Ryan Hanna

When I was a young boy I dreamed that I would one day I would travel far from home and find a land where I could do or have anything I desired. A paradise in every stretch of the imagination. It took me over a decade to realize what I was searching for was a lot closer than I imagined. I am breathing hard and the heat from my limbs chases away the October chill that follows me out on the Peconic. My vespoli racing single glides through the water that resembles a mirror until I distort its perfection with the touch of my oars. It’s a serene Saturday morning and my crew team is out enjoying an easy workout. A sense of freedom envelopes me as I drift slowly away from the rest of the team and paddle out at my own pace. This is my favorite part of crew. Independence out on the water, crisp clean air, and a silence that accentuates the splendors around us. I listen to the various calls of birds who reside in the bay. There is also the rhythmic lap of waves against my boat and the gentle splash of my oars and bow cutting through them. But the denizens of the shores are not just animals. The distant hum of cars on Flander’s road is almost lost to me it had become so commonplace, unlike the annoying honks from cars that pierce the air at all hours of the day and night in the city. There are the whines of motorboats out already putting at their own pace to go wherever they please. People are off to follow whatever whims they have or else continue on in their own hardy lifestyles. But most apparent to my ears are the lawnmowers, though only a few, that are signals of people trying to perfect their already immaculate yards and tickle the pride that so many are accustomed to here. I look towards the shore and note the houses that sprout out across the water’s edge. They are of all different styles, some large and grand, others small and rustic. Simple ones, complex ones, there is no set standard. However they all hold a sense of warmth in them that is infectious even from a glance far away. And then I notice the people occupying these houses and sure enough I notice more than a couple of individuals bending over gardens or pumping up a hedge trimmer. I also see people heading towards the docks that lead out past the shore with fishing gear and smiles that speak of happy anticipation and fun no matter the outcome. Suddenly I notice how still I have become and a lust for action sends me into a rush up and down the catch, hunching over and compressing myself before explosively pushing out with my legs and pulling the oars forward. The boat lurches backwards and I repeat the process. This goes on until I have entered truly open water, at least by my standards for I have never drifted too far beyond the bay and I rest while balancing with my oars to keep the boat steady. I breathe in the fresh salty air deeply and smile as my mind swirls like the water that just passed me, reveling in everything that I feel. I remember all the fun I have had over the years on this island, karate classes, bowling, campouts, and so much more. The amazing and daring individuals I have met, many of who showed me through depth of character and strength of will how short my perception of the reality truly is. I remember those who taught me to live my life, those who introduced me to new things, those who helped me fortify my own resolve to see each day through whether it be bad or good, and those who made me enjoy what I had and grow excited for new opportunities to come. People like them make up the community on this Island. We are what make this place everything from a sanctuary to a resort, an archive to park. Without us humans, we that care and help and nurture and test each other and our surroundings, without us this place would probably still be awesome. But with us it becomes uncomprehendingly awesome. We are what makes this place so great and if we continue to remember that it can only get better. I smile to myself, euphoric with these feeling of exploration and discovery. I turn my single around and head back to the group, only making a few yards before I lose my balance and flip into the startlingly frigid water. My teeth are chattering as my head breaks the surface and as I cling to my overturned single for buoyancy I am still grinning. It was worth the trouble. Ryan Hanna