Wednesday, May 27, 2009



It's almost Summer and so it's time to
rerun the "Windsurfing Prayer" Blog
we had up last year, plus or minus
a photo or two. WHOOOSSHHH!
The Patron Saint of Windsurfing
by John Rutledge
Ever been so deperate for a wind fix that you'd do just about anything--sacrifice a virgin, say a prayer to a patron saint? But virgins are scarce, their parents usually object, and exactly who is the patron saint of windsurfing anyway?
As far as I can tell, no saint has been named the official patron of windsurfing. Skaters have Saint Lidwina of Schiedam in the Netherlands (natch). Skiers have St. Bernard of Montjoux. Sailors, boatmen, and watermen have long had a patron in Saint Brendan the Navigator. St. Brendan sailed the North Atlantic with his band of monks. Possibly they even reached America. Once they stopped on a small island, lit a fire, and began to say Mass, only to discover that the island was a whale.
Maybe we should adopt St. Brendan as the patron saint of windsurfing. The patron saint of windsurfing should be used to unpleasant surprises. The American connection is good even it it's only a remote possibility. St. Brendan's day falls on May 16, timing well with the height of the windsurfing season, at least here on the East Coast.
St. Christopher is another good candidate. Since he carried the Christ Child across a stream, he has a water connection, but no wind. And St. Christopher is rather much overdone. I won't put a plastic St. Christopher on my dashboard until a wind connection is better established.Of course the Virgin Mary can be asked to bring wind, but she's used for everything. A cult of devotion to Our Lady, Star of the Sea already exists. This devotion tends to focus on perils of the sea and hardships endured by people who make their living from the sea. Maybe good for professional windsurfers, but not right for us recreational windsurfers and week-end warriors who mostly work at other jobs so we can windsurf occasionally.St. Jude might be the logical choice. The obvious connection between needing wind on weekends and "lost causes" is too painful to require any comment. St. Jude may just be your man, er. .. saint.
Maybe the ideal saint hasn't been produced yet? How many certified miracles are required for sainthood nowadays? What would qualify as a miracle in windsurfing? Yours truly makes one hundred jibes in a row in rough chop at Jordan Lake? As the result of fervent and heart-felt prayers, we have two perfect days in July at Jordan?
What should the pagans among us do? Classical Antiquity had wind gods for the four prime directions and Aeolus was their keeper-or at least he tried to keep them in order. You want a good nor'easter? Boreas, the god of the North Wind, might listen to you. We rarely see east winds around here. Perhaps we have been neglecting Eurus, god of the East Wind.Greek sailors customarily poured out a portion of wine onto the ground as a sacrifice to the wind gods before setting sail. A glass of Chateau Neuf du Pape seems a small enough price to pay for a good day of windsurfing. Sadly, we have little objective data about the effectiveness of offering wine to the wind gods. So, what's desperate windsurfer to do when he needs a wind fix? Pray!
O great Saint Brendan, grant me just two hours of good, steady windthis afternoon between 2 and 4 p.m.Did you mean Brendan of Birr or Brendan the Navigator?Brendan the Navigator, of course.Well, this is Brendan of Birr. Too bad, no wind for you today.
Appeared first in MindJibe May 2002

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