Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Paddling (and not writing about nature)
I put the kayak in the water and started paddling. I scanned the edges of the lake and saw many houses, which was a disappointment, but as I started to make my s l o w crawl across the body of water, I could see there was an island smack dab in the middle of the whole thing. It looked so far away. I wondered whether I could actually get there and back without exhausting myself. Then, I realized it didn't matter if I got there. I would just paddle and see what happened.
I did make it to the island, and circled around it. A kingfisher came chattering out of nowhere (as they always do), but louder than normal; it was chasing a kestrel. I wonder why.
Imagine that sound, only louder and faster.
This was the second time this week I've gone kayaking, and only the third time in my life. I felt as if I was meant to do this. I need it. The act of paddling quietly alone in a little boat feels so much like meditation. I am confronted with my aches and pains, but I move through them as I move through the water. Ideas of "getting somewhere" (such as that little island) feel like impediments. If I just focus on each dip of the paddle in the water, I'll get where I need to be.
I've been asked why I don't write about nature more. I thought about this each time I took the kayak out. On Tuesday, I saw two mature male bald eagles and a few black ducks. Heard the cry of a loon. Moved the boat through thick bog and the last of the summer's water lilies.
I have no more to say about any of this than what I've written above; barely more than a laundry list. What can I say about the birds, the glistening rocks, the expanse of sky and water? All I can say is that I find it all awesome in the true sense of the word. I am awe struck. Even a passing dragonfly causes me to smile broadly.
If I were to write about nature in future, I'd probably choose to use poetry. I'd like to write more about why this is, but I'm tired, sun burnt, and should have been asleep at least two hours ago.
There is a disconnect lately between life and blogging. Memories seem to be the stuff I can write about; I hope to write more posts about food. It's such a rich topic - memories of meals, restaurants, favorite foods both given up and still loved. But nature? No. I need to keep it what it is for me - something that just is, that needn't be analyzed, and that certainly needs nothing extra (such as my thoughts about it).
Photo note: A Belted Kingfisher.