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Jill Fredston

  • Sculling is the closest I'll ever come to being a ballerina, to creating visual music. A good rowing stroke is fluid, circular, continuous. It is unmarred by pauses, hitches, arm yanks, or back heaves.

  • Zen is a stroke without beginning or end. It is a sensation of being completely connected and disconnected in the same moment ... the oars are just extensions of my arms, and my legs seem to grow out of the boat. ... I am a marionette, the boat is part of me, the water is air, the journey the ultimate magic carpet ride. Or maybe I am the boat — its heart, its motor, its spirit. My legs are pistons, I could row forever.

  • Doug says I have a coffee drinker's personality in the morning, complicated by the fact that I don't drink coffee.

  • Part of the irony of loving the natural world is understanding that it would be better off without human presence.

  • Hindsight has repeatedly shown that we humans have a tendency to underestimate hazard, or to overestimate our ability to deal with it.

  • Groups of sixty or more blinking beluga whales swam gently between our boats, and bearded seals tailed us like private detectives. Orange-beaked puffins made us laugh aloud as they flashed by with their feet held stiffly behind them, like flying nuns on vital church business.

Jill Fredston, U.S. avalanche forecaster, educator, writer