Friday, March 19, 2010

Trial Run

Leigh came for the morning and worked her way swiftly through her school work. “Gramma, now can we go kayaking?” I went and stood in the front yard in shirt sleeves, checking the temperature by feel. I said, “Yes, let’s go try out the new boat.” I purchased a second hand double kayak a couple of months ago and it has been waiting and so has she. The words were hardly out of my mouth and she was standing by the truck holding her new paddle and our life vests, imploring me to hurry.

The boat is too large—fourteen feet and sixty two pounds—for the little wheels I strap on my single seat boat. So I backed down the boat ramp and slid it in. I suggested we head for the dam. Leigh said, “The swamp is much more interesting.” So we headed up one of the inlets. It wasn’t any more difficult to paddle than the single boat last year with her tucked in the front between my feet. She liked her youth sized paddle, but declared it too chilly to keep dripping water on her jeans. We kept an eye out for wildlife and litter. She’s developing a keen eye for both.

We paddled up an inlet, pulled the boat out and walked along the little stream. We came to a narrow wooden bridge, Leigh said, “Let’s just run back and forth and back and forth awhile. So we did, with my boots clomping and Leigh singing “trip, trap, trip, trap” as we crossed and re-crossed and crossed again. We followed the trail up to a meadow which she just had to run around. I didn’t run. My socks had slid down in my boot toes. That will do for a reason or for an excuse!

As we paddled back to the boat ramp, she asked if we could do it again, for a whole day this time. Lots of room to bring a picnic lunch, so we’ll find a day sometime soon. I think the new boat will be all that I’d hoped. And not just for Leigh and me, now I can bring someone else.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

At Last!

I went out kayaking a week ago—the cold wind brought tears to my eyes as I crossed the lake. In the lee of the dam and up in the sheltered inlet, it was calm and almost warm in the sun. But it was beautiful and I needed to kayak. I was feeling twitchy, assailed by false guilt, the kind that doesn’t produce any actual change, just misery. I realized that an hour in my boat would probably cure it.

Today, oh lovely day! Actually warm and pleasant, I left home the wet suit. I packed a picnic in an orange dry bag. I filled one stainless steel thermos with hot tea, one with water. Boots on my feet, but no wool socks, no skirt on the kayak. I launched about 11:30 and headed east, up the lake, past a flock of gulls, under the power towers with the roosting cormorants and anhinga. I went carefully and quietly past the clumps of reeds at the upper end. Nesting Canadian geese are a force to be avoided! I slipped under the Potter Road Bridge and up the creek. Every trip up has different obstacles. The heavy rains had washed out the tree trunks and I made it up to where the rocks blocked the channel. There, listening to the music of water gurgling over rocks and the wind in the trees, I ate my lunch. It was idyllic, until I accidentally poured hot tea on my leg. Even that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for long. On the banks, tiny pale pink flowers with a thin red line on each petal were blooming, looking them up in my field guide at home, I discovered they are “spring beauties”.

I admired the large southern ash trees by the water. Jeremiah 17: 7,8 speaks of trees planted by the river bank that never fear the drought because they have sent their roots to the water. I love that picture, bearing fruit even in hard times because they aren’t dependant on rains. God has planted us by the river of His Word; we need to send our roots in that direction.

As I paddled back, I picked up litter. I’ve learned that it is more pleasing to pick up trash after lunch than to lunch among the empty bottles and cans. Back on the main lake, a brisk wind had picked up and I had to lean into paddling against it.