I slipped the bow of my kayak into the glass smooth water. I quickly followed the boat and rejoiced as I felt the kayak free itself from shore and it began to freely float. I 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.
The sun, finally making its first appearance above the horizon began to warm my face. I knew at this hour I would have the entire waterway to myself.
As I rounded a bend in the canal, my boat bumped gently into the trunk of a small tree which had fallen and slipped into the depths. A pair of ducks paddled silently in the other direction.
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. 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, passing within arms reach of me. This beauty caused 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.
I woke early this morning and loaded the boat on top of the Element. This was my first paddle in several months. I drove to one of my favorite put-is on the Erie canal and unloaded my boat. After I packed safety gear in the boat, I sat quietly on a nearby bench watching a family of ducks as they foraged the nearby grounds for breakfast.
I eased the boat into the still water and slid silently into the cockpit. I adjusted the spray skirt and paddle and began. The only sound was made as my paddle blades entered and exited the water.
I paddled past many ducks and geese and saw a couple of other paddlers out enjoying the solitude of this morning. I paddled into a secluded lagoon, reached forward with my paddle and stretched across the deck of my boat. There I sat silently bobbing in the water, my eyes closed simply being one with my boat and with my surroundings.
As time passed by it became time to head home. The solitude of the early morning not only broken but gone. I was passed by three power boats, a few fisherman in their own boats and a couple of other paddlers. Several fisherman also lined the banks of the canal.
I paddled back to the put-in, released the spray skirt and brought my legs out of the cockpit as the bow gently kissed the shore. Again I sat, tired but content with today’s efforts and feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude for my life.
I returned home, brewed a cup of coffee and swayed in my hammock as I wrote. A gentle breeze stirred the leaves; the sound of cicadas joining the chorus before my eyes fluttered and sleep took me.
What are you thankful for today?
The weather remained cold as the calendar worked to grow closer to Spring. The bony fingers of the still naked trees reaching toward the sky trying to grasp something which is no longer there,