Sunday, May 21, 2006

Paddle Fest 2006 heads into the Books
(or, the mysticism of giving)

This saturday and, again, today a lot of folks gathered along the less-than-sterile Milwaukee river for Laacke & Joy's paddlefest. This annual event offers a chance to meet other paddlers, take in a lecture or two, attend a film festival, test paddling a bunch of boats and (for many who attending) get out in a kayak for the first time and wonder why the hell anyone would do this vountarily. And that takes me to today's piece of wisdom.

Althought Serri Mertz had assembled a lot of store staff and reps (hell, she had her poor abused husband working), the event was aided by several volunteers who care about kayaking and want to share it with others in a good way. John Browning, Bob Bertram and myself (to name a few) performed saftey duties on the river (Saturday) and on the lake (sunday). Call it vounteering, if you wish. I like to refer to it as a call to service.

It is my judgment that a call to service (be it mentoring or charity, donating money or just lending a hand) is an expression of the finest in people. It is that quiet calling of the Soul that moves individuals to take care of business, to help, to be there for someone in need without any thought of reward and no egotistical sense of having done something wonderful for mankind. Those called to service act without anymore thought than they give to getting dressed in the morning. It is just something that must be done...and no big deal.

This quality seems to be more prevelant as we get older. I do not know why. Perhaps we have made our bones with the world, gotten tired of our materialistic toys (other than our kayaks) and have begun to see the bigger picture.

All I can say is that I find it easier, less stressful and more joyful to live in a world that isn't all about me.


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