Yesterday afternoon we scattered George's ashes in the Hudson River. It was a small but perfect group of family and close friends. Although I could not help hoist the Clearwater's main sail, which I had indeed done in the past, since I have not yet built up enough strength following my back surgery and it is hard work. George's children and several friends did help though, and he would have been proud. He of course, when he was able to do so, would have been pulling with the others.
We were blessed with the perfect day. Hot yes, but there was a breeze on the water, and the humidity, although present, was tolerable. But mostly the day was special because family and friends were together, here, in the Hudson Valley, on the river George so dearly loved. Although he hadn't sailed in years, he had loved to sail, loved boats, and particularly loved the Hudson River. In the earlier years of our marriage we had even taken a few public sails on the Clearwater, although most of our time together on the Hudson was spent in a canoe, and since George liked to be out on the water, not hugging the shore, more often than not we were rowing across the river and back. A flotilla of canoes did not really strike me as a suitable option however, and the Clearwater proved to be the perfect setting for launching George's remains to the water and land he so dearly loved.
I have to admit that when Owen and I released George's ashes into the breeze, watching them float in the air, catching the light and settling on the water, it was a beautiful moment. The past year has not always been easy, but we have reached a place from whence it is easier to move forward. Being on the water, on the boat, together, sharing memories, catching up, and looking forward to the future, was a good way to share and remember the many ways in which we have been shaped and touched by those we have lost, and how their influence continues to float in our spirits, always a part of us.
Photo of Clearwater from Clearwater.org.
Raising the sail.
My step-son, Adam, assisting with lowering the sail.