Friday, October 5, 2012

List 33 - what the creek told me . . .

Last week I did a lot of paddling in the kayak.  It was glorious.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  No worries, I'm not referring to the daring flips, spins and dunks of the ultra-cool river folks (though I'd be proud if I could); I'm speaking of the calm practice of maneuvering through flatter water, moving with the moods of the winds.

A year and a half or so we made the (unusually) wise choice to purchase two sea kayaks - wow, am I glad we did!  They're great for everyone!  And kayaking along alone is a perfect antidote to today's frenzied world.  They are amazing.  We love them, our kids love them and we all enjoy that added, hyped sense of starring in our own National Geographic moment.  I wish you'd try it.

Paddling along the creeks and inlets of the low country is superb.  I loved deciding between moving about on the creek side or huffing it around the end of Pawleys Island to get out into the ocean.  Both are perfect - really.  The kayaks awaited us each morning on the creek side, so usually I put in there and explored about.

I saw a lot.  I heard a lot.  I heard nothing.  I wondered.  I smiled.  I learned.

Clearly, this list must be about what I learned along the salty waters.  And - yes, clearly, I have  noticed that I keep learning the same things in different places.  I'm glad I keep receiving the same lessons.  I'm glad that God and the universe keep on keeping on with the illustrations!  I like stories with pictures.

Life is that way, huh?  I guess it takes us a long, long time to learn what we are supposed to.   Most of the time, I enjoy the learning . . . especially in the kayak.

So, friends, here are a few of the things I have learned from one kayak, one paddle and the nearest body of water . . .

1.  Even though you don't always want to do what 'they' say, it really helps to take a moment or two to really look at the water before you begin.  You want to be sure that you do the hard part first and enjoy the moving along with the current on the way home.  Oh sure, from time to time you'll forget or override that general belief; but chances are high that you'll be sorry.  It's gratifying to get the hard stuff over with and get the calm seas on the return.

2.  Sometimes you might find yourself hustling and bustling to go as fast as possible.  That's great for a time, but then it's good to slow down a bit and listen to the sound of your breathing and the little splashes of the water as it swirls around your paddle.

3.  For numerous reasons I do not completely understand, it is good and important to stop completely sometimes and simply watch and listen.  You're kind of a different soul when you've silently watched a snowy egret on the sneaky hunt for food or the clean and simple choreography of a school of minnows as they dart and dance.

4.  After you've had a great trip or found the best route ever, it is inexplicably fun to share it with a loved one.

5.  Oft times you have to figure out a way to be your own rudder.  It might be a special way you slow down your strokes or the simple practice of keeping your paddle in the water a bit longer in the follow through.  Sometimes the forces in control need our help in choosing the direction of the trip.

6.  At times you'll be energized by the loud cacophonies of the paddle and the choppy water and other times you'll just know that you require a more silent approach.  That will come just by listening to what's in your head.

7.  It always does us good to look back at where we have come from and see it from a different point of view.

8.  There are few feelings as gratifying as captaining your own ship.

9.  It's always okay to stop, put your feet up and see what happens.

10.  If you're exhausted at the end, enjoy it.  That might be the perfect time to jump in the water, cool off and hold onto your boat for the lazy trip home.

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