Friday, April 22, 2016

WATERCOLORS


Kayaking is my intimate relationship with water. I feel vulnerable and at the water's mercy. Sitting in a boat, only millimeters of carbon and fiberglass keeping me dry and protected, I am connected to the forces at play. I feel every ripple, every current and the slightest breezes. I am exposed to all elements and my inferiority is constantly being thrown at me. Whether I am paddling the fjords, exploring the surf, following the river, or just riding the ocean swells, I am nothing but a tiny speck riding on the back of a giant. A giant that can’t be conquered. A giant that forces me to adapt and prepare for the unexpected. A giant that reminds me of the control I don't posses. For me, kayaking is a meditation of humility...Daniel Fox

I introduced myself at the Bayside Adventure Sports paddle and SUP outing last weekend. How much did you paddle last year, one asked. "Ninety-one days last year," I said, "Not as much as I did the year before. I did 131 paddling days that year. But, every year I make a goal to paddle one hundred days during the year."

I have thought about that a lot this week. That equals a few hundred times of loading, unloading an loading my kayak. Millions upon millions of paddling strokes, and mostly, rushing home from my jobs to get on to the water. We all know the cycle... Sleep, work paddle. I pulled it off this past week, getting five days of paddling in the last ten days with plans of going again tomorrow.

"I go to sleep thinking about this river and I wake up excited to paddle it," posted on Facebook whitewater kayaker and filmmaker Rush Sturges, "People ask me if I ever get bored and I never do at these levels."

I feel the same way, like many of us do. I spend my time trying to balance work and paddling. I like to work but I can't wait to go paddle again and again. It's where I want to be,  seeing the light and the water reflecting an image of my Nirvana. To spend time with my friends and family in amazing places and seeing those places from a perspective that you wouldn't get to otherwise.

Paddling philosopher Sigurd Olson once said, "Water reflects not only clouds and trees and cliffs, but all the infinite variations of mind and spirit we bring to it."