I love tubing. Other than writing, it’s the only other thing I can do for hours and not get grumpy. It’s more than a pastime now, or even a hobby: its tradition. It comes with special gear, of course. The inner tubes are the ones I used in my youth: larger, heavy duty, with a rope tied to the handle for high winds. On calm days, there is a special 5 lb. anchor, in case meditation is required and drifting can’t be closely monitored. There are the special swim shoes to protect against the sharp rocks of the lake bottom. There is nothing more relaxing on a summer day, when the wind is close to nothing, and the temperature is in the high eighties. I love the calmness of the waves lapping gently on the shore, and the beat of the sun on my sunscreeened skin. There is close to no noise at all, save maybe a seagull, or a powerboat engine that strays in close. Most days, that’s not the case. Wind is ever present on the lake, generating a steady current and usual waves. That’s where the anchor comes in. But enough wind, and the anchor isn’t enough. Manual force must be exerted to stay waterborne, usually in the form of two feet planed firmly on the rocky bottom. But in hot weather, sometimes the best comes…a full force gale. Then the lake kicks up like a boiling pot, waves crashing on the shore, the wind blowing so hard that it’s hard to see. Windburn becomes a real issue. Then tubing is not relaxing, but exhilarating. To be there riding the waves, feeling them crash into you, the roar of the wind surrounding you is like a jolt of adrenaline. You have never been so alive, so free, so pure. And after….bliss. Climbing out of the water, there is the shock of the breezy, all-encompassing air before the towel, and then the lazy, hazy feeling of relaxation. It’s better than valium; feeling cool, and that exceptional kind of tired where you know you did something good, and its time to rest, because you feel happy and satisfied. Get a tube. Get out on water before winter comes with its snow and ice. There’s still time, if you hurry.