I slipped the bow of my kayak into the glass smooth water. I quickly followed the boat and cringed as the icy water penetrated my wetsuit. I straddled the boat and settled myself into the cockpit, gently stretching the spray skirt around the cockpit combing.
I reached behind me with my paddle and gently pushed the boat into deeper water. The memory of the paddle stroke quickly returned as did a smile on my face. The bow of the boat gently sliced through the water leaving a gentle wake in my path. The lack of even the slightest breeze leaving the surface of the water as smooth as glass.
I paddled along the shore examining the wondrous nature laid out before me. The wake left by my boat finally reached shore and gently lapped at the rocks along the shoreline. Ice began to form on the arms of my paddling jacket, my mustache also becoming covered with ice, my breath still visible. I stopped several times to take photographs and simply enjoy the solitude. With temperatures hovering just under the freezing mark it was assured that I would have the entire waterway to myself.
As I rounded a bend in the canal, my boat bumped gently into a thin layer of ice which coated the surrounding water. A pair of ducks gingerly walked on the surface of the ice investigating my presence. As I paddled into a more populated area the sounds of barking dogs began to fill the air. Several ran along the shore their stride matching my paddle stroke for stroke. When they tired of the chase they returned to their human companions. Flocks of Canadian geese took off from the water circled overhead and glided silently just feet above the water and passing within arms reach of me. This beauty forced me to cease paddling and simply be in that moment.
I reached my destination and began to paddle toward the put-in. Everything that I had seen on the first passing coming to life again as the sun found itself higher in the sky, shadows lengthening, a new perspective coming to light.