Nothing like a good kayak trip to get the creative juices flowing again.
Last night, we had to forfeit the outing because the wind blew in and the water became choppy. It’s been doing that every damn night this week and last week.
Every time I planned to go (which was every night), the wind would blow in every evening just as I was digging out the life preservers and the paddles.
This afternoon, I left work and the river was finally still and glass-like. The sun was high in the sky and the only clouds we saw were cumulus and billowy ones. Perfect kayaking conditions.
And I was furious. Because tonight was the night Dusty and I do the radio show so of COURSE the conditions were perfect. YOU WOULD KNOW THAT THE NIGHT I AM COMMITTED TO DOING SOMETHING IS WHEN THE RIVER IS PERFECT!!!! Not that I begrudge the radio show. He and I have a blast even when we piss and moan about nights that we’re tired and really don’t feel like doing it. Once we’re down there on the air having a blast, we’re glad we stuck it out.
But. The river was calling me. My body yearned to be out on that water. My lungs ached for the crisp humid air rising from it. My brand new pink kayak sat there looking particularly adorable and just ripe for her maiden voyage.
I called Dusty and asked him if he minded if I bailed tonight. He breathed a sigh of relief because he was exhausted after traveling all this week. In spite of that, I felt really bad. Kind of like I’d canceled a date. Nowadays, the radio show is the only time Dusty and I really get to visit and catch up with each other. But I also knew he could hear the desperation in my voice and given my life as of late, he knew I needed my “Prozac”.
I hung up the phone, we quickly gathered our essentials, loaded the kayaks, dropped them at the cast out point and went to leave the truck at the haul out point.
When we returned to where we cast off, there was a large truck retrieving water from the river. Our former neighbor was there and as we were getting off the 4-wheeler, she mouthed “I ran over your kayak” over the loud engine of the truck.
I mouthed an “oh FUCK!” and silently cursed at God.
Why…WHY? was he testing me? All I wanted was a simple fucking kayak trip. It’s environmentally friendly and rather than drown my sorrows in alcohol and hard drugs, I choose to kayak to relieve my stress. “God damn it…Lord…I’m at 8…you do NOT want to see me at 10.”
Luckily, we inspected the damage, and the nose was just a little misshapen and Howard was able to pop it back into shape and re-set the foam float that wedges into the front end. Within 10 minutes, we waved goodbye to our friend (who apologized profusely) and we were off.
After a few awkward moments of entering the current, getting my balance and getting re-acquainted with the water, I sat back, relaxed and began a steady rhythm of paddling.
I apologized to God as the sun beat down on our faces, the river stayed calm, and eventually there was nothing but the sound of birds, our paddles gliding through the water, and the pleasantly hum-drum conversation Howard and I were having. Howard, at one point, paddled over to me and pulled me to him and gave me a kiss.
Out there on that water, our problems were elsewhere. There was absolutely nothing we could do about it. And it felt fabulous. Our only worries were keeping the kayaks steady and balanced. It felt primal. Simple.
And I knew…really….that no matter what happened back on the shore..everything would ultimately be okay.
When we returned home, I phoned Dusty to let him know we made it back. He’d just been out looking for us.
It had just begun to rain.
God decided to give us a break. At least for today.