Thursday, October 22, 2009

Little Woes

Sunday I got out my late fall equipment for kayaking, changed to the warmer life vest, got out the “skirt”. I arrived at the park, ready to paddle on the cool, damp afternoon. I opened the back door on the truck, no paddle, doing things differently and I forgot it. Back home, got the paddle and I returned. It was a lovely paddle, until I went to get back in the truck and found the little zip bag with my license and park permit gone. It was too late to look, so I went home. At home, I ran a load of towels and Chet said, “Why is there a puddle of water in front of the washer?”

First thing Monday morning, snuggly dressed in my wind jacket and boots, with the skirt in place, I set out to look for the little plastic bag. I knew it probably flew out when I pulled out my phone to check the time. I knew about where I was and which way the wind was blowing. So I paddled and searched. No little bag. But the sky was brilliant blue, the breeze was dancing the mist in circles, deer came down to drink.

It only took twenty minutes to get a temporary replacement for my license, but later that afternoon, the DMV office called and said to appear there before nine the next morning, because they had overcharged me. I drove home and called a repairman. The washer left with him, but he left a loaner. No news yet on the prognosis.

This afternoon I stopped at the ranger office to get a new park pass, only to find that the lake will be closed indefinitely as of tomorrow. Oh truly woe! The beauty of the paddle was off-set by wondering where else I could go, Cane Creek is so large, so close, so lovely.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Just since I was out on Thursday afternoon, the colors are coming in the trees. The colors are muted, partly by the cloudy day, partly by the fact the colors here aren’t as crayon bright as the mountains or northern states. The trees are still lovely with an occasional swamp maple flaming up, the burgundy of sweet gum and the yellow of beech. It is cooler, I began wondering about switching my sandals for rubber boots. A long sleeve shirt might have been good, but paddling for two hours warmed me. The green herons have flown away, some of the blue herons have moved on. It was quiet on the lake up at the far end, only the cries of birds disturbed by my passage.

Sunday afternoons are often quiet paddles. I’m not planning a message or learning Scripture. Sunday afternoons I find myself breathing deeply and just being at peace. I didn’t even make an effort to think of what I might write about, just enjoyed each view. On a sheltered bank, there was the last cardinal flower of the season; the salt bushes were fuzzy white. The wild asters white, with an occasional purple one.

People ask, “Don’t you fish? Don’t you take pictures?” No, I go just to be. I’ve caught a fish, but accidentally. He was dragging a bobber behind him and I pulled him in, unhooked and turned him loose. I tried photos. Someone gave me a waterproof film camera. I hadn’t realized until I tried to focus that my kayak bobbed so, even in what looked like calm water. Multi-tasking, not on Sunday afternoon, that’s for paddling, looking and breathing. Enjoying the deep, healing peace, the shalom of Sabbath.

Friday, October 2, 2009


September 25, ‘09
Ten days without kayaking, I was so glad to be on the water again! I need to be outdoors. Deep droughts of sky and tree and water seem as necessary as eating and drinking. Instead, I felt like I’d spent a couple of weeks in the driver’s seat of my car.

The sun had a full ring around it and I thought, “Storm coming!” My grandfather started his adult life as a whaler on a sailing ship and went on to farm a few rocky acres in southeastern Massachusetts, so I grew up with a rich fund of weather lore. Then I thought about Jesus’ criticism of the folks who could read the weather signs but couldn’t tell the signs of the coming kingdom. Every age has had those who proclaim their days the “end times”. Rather than growing impatient, we wait expectantly. I’m reading a book by N T Wright, Surprised by Hope, on the resurrection. My favorite part so far is his discussion of how all creation will be resurrected, new heavens and new earth. I love the created world and find the concept of it being raised exciting. Ever since I discovered that the word for “world” in John 3:16 means “all that God created” I’ve wondered about God’s plan for his creation.

September 26, ‘09

Gray sky, gray water, the trees wrapped in mist, their greens muted. The storm predicted by yesterday’s ring around the sun is on its way. Someone asked me, “Don’t you get tired of paddling around the same lake?” No, partly because it is never the same lake. The surface changes from mirror smooth to wind whipped. The sky changes, the colors of the trees change, flowers bloom, and birds come and go. I’ve seen the eagle twice again. Each trip bestows a different gift when you look expectantly.

I come to Scripture with the same sense of expectancy. It’s different each time we read it. A well loved verse takes on a new dimension of meaning for us or we understand a passage that we’ve wondered about. New truths flash out, like a kingfisher off a branch.