Volunteer captains Allan Redfern, Christine Maino, Kathleen Sprague, and Barb Gaviani. Photograph by Drew Christhilf.

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It was an unusually cold, dark, moonless, Autumn night. John Mongelli, Christine Maino, and I were putting WaterFire tender boats away after one of the last fires of the season. All the equipment had to be broken down and put away. The goal was to rid the site of all evidence of the many thousands of attendees from the night before. And it was always an impressive achievement. Or, was it a dream?

Except for the unusual low temps, it was a night like many others. At least that’s what we expected. We stuck together with our boats and passed through the hurricane barrier. Except for our wake, the water was calm. We pushed the throttles forward like we never did when we were on the river. It was beautiful. Minutes later we slowed and aimed for the dock. It wasn’t well-lit but we knew it well, after doing the trip so many times. We made short work of the spring lines that we had to use to let the boats safely, and securely, rise and fall with the tides, without escaping.