Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Been there
So, why do that?

A few days ago, with the temps trying for 60, I paddled out of south shore with Sherri Mertz (an excellent instructor and paddler who works at a local paddle shop. She had managed to have a monday off...but I digress).

We launched from the same place our paddling group launches virtually every sunday of the year. And our route was nothing you'd buy a dvd to see. Just out the gap in the newly repaired stone pile of a breakwater, north on the outside to catch a foot and a half following sea, then into the outer harbor to check out construction on the island and lagoon for small boats being constructed off the Summer Fest grounds. The reach home across the harbor was into gusting winds of 15-20knots, and there was some traffic including a tug with a barge carrying stones, a sailboat and a little jobber that moved along smartly under power. total time: 2.5 hours.

These were the waters I've sailed for 30+ years and paddle weekly and, yet, it was the first time I'd done that paddle. (Reminds me of the Zennish book, You can't step into the same river twice).

It was the same when I was able to do long distance running (marathons, before loosing some muscle function in one leg...but I digress...again). I pretty much had only two or three routes that I ran, and which I chose was dictated by the wind direction. I must have taken a bazillion foot steps over the same area during those years.

And so it is with sea kayaking. Unless we're on a trip or going somewhere, the paddling is the thing. It is probably different for each of us, yet more alike for all of us. It is foremost, for me, being on the water and feeling it's motion moving me and my small craft. Secondly, its the tradition, the following in the foot steps (?paddle steps) of some unknown people who did what I am doing...only they did it over 7000 years ago. Then there is the joy in the balancing act, something that made judo so enjoyable for me. There is, too, the ability to get out in all sorts of weather and conditions and to take care of myself and, should the need arise, help another. It is being part of another world.

I guess there really is no such thing as just another paddle. Hell, I did thousands and thousands of heart catheterizations and never considered any of them just another cath. Why would I approach this any differently?

Paddle Safe...

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