Friday, February 29, 2008

Mini "Escape"
The weather is crappy and is predicted (they call it a forecast) to be so over the weekend. I am headed south. Well, actually, I'm headed 80 miles south to Chicago. I do some odd jobs to support my fiberglass addiction and one is to help organize continuing education conferences for health care professionals.

The boss of the organization with which I work wants me to see one of their events so I can get the flow of the process. This is a new area for me, and I am testing to see whether or not this old dog can learn a new trick.

So, I shall be gone over the weekend and will return on Monday when it should be 85 F. here. then I can sit out in the back yard with a cold one and watch the pigs fly.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dare I Believe?
So, yesterday, it being Wednesday, I went to the old neighborhood for my weekly volunteer session as a tutor. I work with a delightful 3rd grader who is doing very well...but I digress. As I enter the church where we meet there is the usual sign in sheet and the calendar for March.

A quick scan of the sheet, and my eyes lock on the March 26th week where, according to this publication, the Milwaukee schools will be closed and there will be no tutoring sessions. Why? For the life of me I couldn't figure out why they would just suddenly close the schools. I didn't think they could predict an evil snow storm that far in advance. How could I resolve this question? Easily, ask a 3rd grader.

Spring break, she tells me. Harp music appears out of no where and psychedelic colors (I had eaten a Slim Fast bar before leaving home) fill my visual fields. Angels silently glide down from where ever angels glide down from, and one whispers in my ear, "Dare to believe...dare to believe. Spring will come again."

The sound of ocean waves pounding a sandy beach replaces the harp music as a sensation of weightlessness washes over me. The faces of my ancestors appear, one after another, and each smiles kindly at me. As the moment passes, the stink of neoprene fills my nostrils as a feeling that all will be well fills my soul. Then we sat down and did math.

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Philosopher and a Platypus...
(a Silbs' book club selection)
On our recent trip to Arizona, Pat let me read a book she had brought along. Its title: A Philosopher and A Platypus Walk Into a Bar. Sounds like a set up for a joke, doesn't it? Well, in a way it is.

Written by two philosophers, the book takes the reader through the various schools of thinking that have evolved over the ages. Written tongue in cheek, it is based on a conversation between two men, and the conversation is hilarious. Puns abound as do jokes to illustrate the teachings. At one point I drew the attention of others on the plane when my laughter became uncontrollable.

Each chapter takes on a school of philosophy. The two men have a (inane) discussion of the school of thought. Then the authors talk to us and offer up a story or two.

Nurse: "Doctor, there is an invisible man in the waiting room"
Doctor: "Tell him I can't see him"

Just a taste, and no where near the best one. Get this book, read and enjoy it, then pass it on to a friend. This may be the best antidote for winter yet.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'll Be Seeing You...
With Both Eyes

Indulge me today as I am a bit giddy with joy as I look at the blurry screen through my two artificially dilated eyes. I received good news in the past hour.

Four years ago I had cataract surgery on both eyes. At the time, there was a questionable spot on my left retina. Jump ahead to this past week, my blog and the blurring of vision in my left eye. The eye doctor say me on Saturday and thought the retina might have changed. This morning I saw the retinal specialist, the one who was once an intern under me (but I digress).

He had this amazing machine that used laser and low energy X rays to do a cross section of my retinas. Bottom line, they are good. They are fine. They are no problem. They look good. Did I mention that they are fine? In any event, on March 6th the doctor who did my cataracts will be doing a Yag Laser Capsulotomy on my left eye.

Apparently, when they do the cataract surgery, they remove the lens but leave the posterior (back sided) capsule in place to support the artificial lens they implant. That capsule can become clouded, and that is my problem. With the laser, they will blast a hole through the capsule, the capsule will contract some and the blessed light shall pour onto that good looking retina. Did I mention the retina is fine? Any way, I look forward to seeing you all soon, even the next day at Canoecopia.

Paddle safe...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Just Because...My blog on colors seemed to draw some interest. Fine. Thing is, I am a bit bummed (I'll be fine), and I know that looking at colorful anything often helps.So, I guess this is all more or less for me.What the heck.I feel better already.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Roll, Roll, Roll Your Boat
The pool session went well yesterday. I did my usual thing, but I realized the greatest pleasure from helping others. One paddler, who has been in kayaks a little over a year, was there with his wife. They each have a reliable half-c-c-half-sweep-roll, and I am proud to have helped them get to where they are. Yesterday, he asked if he could use my Greenland stick. Of course he can.

I sat in my boat (we were in water too deep to stand) and explained what he needed to do to execute a sweep. He did it 98% through, then went back down when he tried to sit up too soon. We talked about getting onto the back deck and how to go into a low brace when finally sitting up. Bang, he hit it...and again and again. Then, I set him up for an angel roll, drew a word picture of what he would do and watched as he gave it a try. Again, 98%, but he came up with the sweep roll. Again, we talked about getting onto the back deck and then applying a little pressure on the paddle when sitting up. Bang, he hit it, and again and again.

About this time, the wife (who had, apparently, been paying close attention) took the boat and the stick and performed a nice sweep roll on her first try. I told them that it was time for me to leave the county since my work here was done.

I don't know what it is about rolling and why we get such pleasure from it. I don't know why, now that some of my rolls are "bomb proof" I continue to do them over and over. On the other hand, I don't need to know why. Just being able to roll, in my judgment, gives one confidence in their boat, relaxes them and, in the end, makes it less likely they will need to roll.

Paddle safe...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Eye has It
Here's Looking at You...or not
It Depends On How You Look At It
I don't mind admitting it, I am worried this morning. It's my eyes or, rather, my eye. The left one (o.s. for my physician friends...but I digress). For a few days now, the vision in my left eye has changed. My right eye (o.d.) sees pretty much like the picture above appears. My left eye, however, sees it like this:Part of my concern is that I know too much (ophthalmology was a big part of being a flight surgeon...but I digress...again). In addition, there I have a remote family history of glaucoma, although I don't think that is what is going on. So, why haven't I gotten this looked at?

Well, until this morning I thought I needed a change in glasses. In fact, I had noted for the past few days that I could see better without my glasses. A few days ago, I ordered a new pair. It was only this morning that I picked up on the difference between the two eyes.

It is not yet 7 am here. I will try to call my friend the eye doctor in a few hours and see (at least from my right eye) if he can see me today.

Paddle safe...


Friday, February 22, 2008

Kayak Art?
This picture of Gary Simon's Romany reminds me of the new color schemes and decorations we're seeing on kayaks. Originally, I suspect, you could get a glass kayak in any color you long as it was white. Now, only one's imagination limits what is available.
Even JB's Explorer makes for a cheerful sight out on the ice. Now, of course, you can get all sorts of mixed designs and patterns for your dream boat. Everything from mixed colors to stars and stripes are appearing on boats. They look fresh and new and catch one's eye, but I have to wonder what is the motivation for it all...other than eye appeal.

Have we become so bored with the white hull, are we feeling that we're in such a rut that we need to spray paint our boats to re stimulate our interest? After all, after the first million strokes, braces and rolls paddling becomes awfully repetitious. After lugging the boat out of the garage and hefting up onto the car roof for the zillionth time, perhaps we need some eye candy to keep up our mojo.

The joke about the original ford car was that you could have it in any color as long as it was black. I suspect that the first car of color caused a lot of talk when it first appeared, just like has happened with the kayaks. In the end, it's all good and it's fun. As long as we're out there feeling good we may as well look good. Besides, who could stand just paddling a solid white or, for that matter, black kayak year after year?
Paddle safe...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Behind Bars
Some say that prison, or the fear of it, is not a deterrent. I think differently. Just having spent the winter (up to now) "behind" bars, I already feel deprived of my freedom, my ability to go out as I please and do what I want to do. My access to the lake is no longer under my control or available when the whim strikes me. I am, in a small way, a prisoner of winter.

Yes, I know it will pass. Yes, I know I could squeak out some time and head south if I were only motivated enough. Still, it makes me wonder how I could possibly handle it all if it were for years and I was really unable to go outside. The mere thought of it makes me shudder.

Deep breath. Pool session at the end of the week. Weekend after that, Canoecopia and seeing lots of paddlers and bloggers. Weekend after that and after that I have plans and things to do, and they are all outside the walls of my home. Then it will get warm, and the symposiums will begin along with classes. Thinking of all that makes me feel better. It instills a bit of optimism into my soul. It's almost like the governor called and pardoned me.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where Are They?
I have a soft, maybe weak, spot that won't let me watch a movie or documentary in which children and/or animals suffer. As for the first, I guess I subscribe to the poem that tells us that the world belongs to the children and that the children belong to us all. I believe most of us would do anything necessary to protect a child at risk.

The other day, while walking Ansel, I gazed down the frozen river and remembered the night we saw cayotes playing out there on the ice. The other day I saw one of the local squirrels scurrying across the phone lines. Both of these events came to mind as I wondered where all the animals were and how they were managing to survive this unusually harsh winter.

Ok, I know about Darwin and the thinning of the herd and all that. And I do have some knowledge of what these animals actually do to get through this tough season. This concern I have, however, is more an emotional than an intellectual one. Regardless of the tools Mother Nature has given them, many of these animals are suffering out there. I know, too, that I am not expected to do anything about it and that there is, in fact, little I could do.

So, it is for more than selfish reasons that I look forward to warmer days. In addition to access to the waters around here, spring brings with it the cheerful sounds of song birds, many unseen. It brings the flocks of sassy crows that often greet me in the morning. The local fox and cayotes emerge from heaven knows where, and the mammals that live along the shores of the river get busy getting ready for another season.

Then there is the sense of rebirth as Mother Earth sprouts trees, flowers, bushes and food. It is then that I, too, begin to feel alive and a bit younger. I do so look forward to spring but, mean while, I wonder where they all are.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Missing It All
It's the weather, dude. This winter will go into the books as an unusual one and one not friendly to paddlers (at least not around here...but I digress). If it isn't the sub zero (F) temps it's the shore ice conspiring to keep us ashore. And I miss it. I miss the paddling and just being out on the water. More over, and what I've come to realize, I miss the group's energy.
Usually, when weather keeps us ashore, we still meet for coffee. This past weekend, however, even that wasn't to be as slick ice covered our roads, and we all felt it would be safest not to wander out. Missing the weekend gathering reminded me of how important my paddling partners are in my life. They are, one and all, fine people, and I would enjoy their company whether or not they paddled.

I've floated in calm waters and bashed waves with this group. We've sat together around cafes, and some of us have sat together around camp fires. We've eaten new year's day chili together and rolled in pools together. Missing all this has been the hardest part of this winter. Still, JB sends encouraging e mails and reminds me that Canoecopia is just around the corner. Come to think of it, there is no reason I can't have coffee with him during the lunch hour.

Paddle safe...

Monday, February 18, 2008

The disconnect

(the blank spaces represent where blogpsot refuses to upload pictures)

I look out my window and see snow, slush and fog. It is damp. At 37 degrees F. it would be good paddling if there were a safe launch site. That's what I see. What I think about, on the other hand, is teaching.

It is around the corner, and soon classes will form and symposiums held. There will be folks there looking to learn to paddle, and those of us who teach will once again demonstrate, explain and correct. We will do whole-part-whole and use other techniques to get our points across. If you are anything like me, you have stolen teaching points from the folks who taught you and put together your own little menu and way of teachings. Chances are that over time you have come up with a scenerio that you repeat with each class. You feel comfy with that scenario, and it works. That is what I am particularly thinking about.

Are my classes becoming stale? If I do the same thing over and over too many times will I lose my passion and will that loss be obvious to the students? The answer to both is probably yes, and I should assume it is so. Thinking about it in those terms will wake me up to trying new things when I teach.

It can be as simple as presenting things in a different order just to make me more mindful of what I am doing. It might mean adding some playful things to what is (for me) a generally serious presentation. Sure, safety comes first, but I can get them there in more than one way. Do I need to change other methods, add something, leave something out? At this point, I am not sure, but that's what I am thinking about now so that I will be fresh and ready when classes start.
Paddle safe...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Weather Man,
if nothing else,
Is Predictable
(This is where there is
usually a picture.
Neither the pic upload nor
spell check works on blogspot
this lovely morning)

So horendous was the threat, so big was the storm to come that Midwest Airlines (based here in Milwaukee) suspended their rules to allow others, like myself, scheduled to return on Sunday to re-book on earlier flights. The airports, as we all knew from the weather "forecast", would be buried under 13 inches of snow.

The weather guy, always predictable, got it usual. Right now, it is above freezing and water is dripping off the icicles on the eaves. Yes, it may snow later today. We may even get some freezing rain. Anyway, better safe than sorry. Better home and snug.

Paddle safe...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Saturday's blog early

When Nature
Gives You
The Finger

Because an impending snow storm may close the Milwaukee airport on Sunday, we are flying early tomorrow to return home. I thought that cactus was laughing at me when I took its picture. Little did I know then, it was flipping me off.

Paddle safe...


of the
As I was saying, it is hard for me to "see" a new environment, to actually get a feel
for the place. One thing I've learned is to start early and grab one or two token sunrise shots

The color helps while the cacti give a sense of place. And this place is magic when someone who does know it well is there to teach.These little guys will leave you with painful barbs if you get anywhere near them. Interestingly, you can knock of a piece (which Bill did), burn off the barbs (which Bill did) and slice it open to eat the pulp (which mowe all did). It "asted" like a tasteless melon. The natives in the area used to eat the stuff which is, as it tuns out, an excellent (and their only) source of vitamin C. Not one of us got scurvy while out there.

Other wise, it has been surprisingly cool. We have heard that an impending snow storm may prevent our return home on Sunday. More tomorrow.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Settling In
Just back from a sunrise visit to the sesert with an interesting guide. I will have more on that tomorrow. It is cool here and even cold up in the desert. Our anxiety level was raised when we learned there is to be a snow storm Sunday in Milwaukee...the day we hope to return. I will let go of that for now and enjoy where I am and editing the photos I shot this morning.
I will say that the beauty of the desert takes a bit to see. It was all new to me, but I found myself warming upn to it quickly. Bill, our guide, was a big part of that. As I said, more tomorrow.
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A closer Look

When in a new place, and bored, I look to my camera to get my mind into the place. I remember a famous photographer telling me that the secret to getting fabulous scenery or landscape images is to visit a place over and over. This is my first time here.

Another expert's advise was to always get closer. That works for me. Another thing that works for me is to look at the plants that are distinctive to the area or, at least, not found up in Siberia where I live. The aloe plant (I think) is an example. Of course, the dull flat light did not make for a flattering image. So, I cropped and worked on the sensuous shapes and shades and came up with a satisfying image.

Now, I feel a little more alive and into this place. So...I'm going out to play.

Paddle safe...


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

At Ease
In Arizona and just straightened out the wireless here. Will make every effort to get out, do some photography and have something worthwhile to post soon.
Paddle safe...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Outta' Here

I checked, and the weather man is pretty certain that the temps will not see much of anything above the freezing mark for the next week. It sucketh. So, Lady Linda and I...along with our friends and neighbors Pat and Fred...are leaving tomorrow for Arizona.

We plan to snooze, read, go out into the landscape around Phoenix and generally waste time and warm our bones. As we have a rather early flight out in the morning, I may be away from this site for a day or two. I do plan on taking a camera (or two) and a lap top. I understand there is wireless where we are staying, so maybe I can show you some shots of sand kayaking...if there be such a sport.

You all stay warm.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mental Health Day
(at my house)

Enough dwelling on the cold weather and frozen water. I recently talked about photo albums and photos in boxes, and it is time to pull some out to remind me of the terrific days I had on the water in 2007 and the possibilities for the upcoming season (yes, I am in reruns...but I digress)

It is time to think of paddling in (dare I say?) Farmer Johns and (be still my heart) shorts. It is time to think about Canoecopia, just around the corner. It is time to think about symposiums and camping and trips, oh my. It is time to ignore the torture of those south of here who keep thumbing their warm noses at us (I am not naming names, but we do have an open border with New Zealand :)).It's time, too, to think of teaching and the joy of seeing new paddlers being born onto the water. And, it's time to be grateful for the youngest and eldest in my family and they joy they bring me.

Paddle safe...


Saturday, February 09, 2008

QAJAQ/KAYAK/SHIM (what's in a name?)
This story has nothing to do with paddling. It is Saturday, it's freezing outside, I haven't had a decent paddling outing in a I am entitled to muse. Actually, Kristin might find this interesting, or at least attest to its truth.
A number of years ago, I was in Australia (a suburb of New Zealand) to staff an event for an international men's organization. A small group of us were in the Gold Coast area (Miami Beach-like place) having breakfast at an out door cafe. It was a lovely setting with warm breezes and the ocean just across the street. Well, our table wobbled.
It seemed one leg was a bit shorter than the others or the ground under it dipped a might. In any event, when the waitress arrived I told her about this problem and asked, "Do you have a shim we could put under the table." That's when the mood got ugly. She looked at me with a look I presumed was native to down under's. My take was that it was not an approving look.
Meanwhile, next me sat one of the younger men, a fellow known to enjoy a good laugh. As put off as the waitress looked, he looked 14 times as amused as he broke into laughter. In fact, he was quickly in tears and was soon sliding to the ground in fits of laughter. It was then that the waitress stormed off leaving me to wonder if I should head for the airport (I always kkept my passport with me).
An older and more mature Aussie at the table said to me, "I'm a carpenter, and I know what you meant, but that word has another meaning here." Turns out that a shim is also a combo of she and him and means a transvestite, something I really didn't need under the table that early in the day.
Anyway, it is still Saturday, daughter #2 and her husband are here, more friends are coming over and we will be celebrating her birthday at dinner. Maybe the table we get at the resturant will wobble. Wouldn't that be a great chance to tell the story again?
Paddle safe...

Friday, February 08, 2008

It Accumulates
(thoughts on the learning curve)
I never have considered myself an expert paddler, however I, like all of you, have some skills. And I didn't come by mine by accident. The process was, in fact, like an effort to get to Carnigie Hall. I practiced, practiced, practiced.
I don't know how many hours I've spent (often with JB) going over my strokes, working on getting my upper hand over the water on my hanging draw and stretching to face my work. I worked on the concepts, and I worked on the details.
Interestingly, when one knows little about something, the learning comes quickly. We say that the learning curve is steep. But like physical conditioning, as one progresses to higher levels, the learning is slower, and it takes more effort to learn just a tiny bit more. The devil dwells in the details, as it were.Be it strokes, rolls or braces, the endless hours of practice slowly paid off as I became more confident in the skills I'd acquired. And, because of the effort that went into it all, I value them highly. Now, however, the weather is robbing me of my time on the water, and I fear I will lose some of what I have so slowly accumulated. Part of that concern, I am sure, is due to the dreary days and unusual snow fall we've had. It has been a long long time since I've spent so much of my time indoors. For now, I can only think of the skills I've accumulated while I watch the snow accumulate.Paddle safe...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Here's Looking At You
If your family is like mine (and you're over 35 years old, or so) you have, somewhere in your basement, attic or closet, a box full of old pictures and/or slides. If you are my age, you have a bunch of old square format black and whites taken on 620 film (bet you haven't heard that one for a long time...but I digress). The thing is that we took these hundreds and hundreds of images to record a moment or event or to remember a person as they were on that day. They are treasures of our past. That's why we've kept them with us as we've moved from house to house.
My youngest has a wonderful habit of going through these boxes when she visits. She has put together some wonderful albums, and paging through them brings back wonderful memories. I have to wonder how many other pictures have been lost. Regradless, let me get to my next point.
Cameras, once a luxury item, are everywhere. Everyone has at least one, and most have them in their phones. In their phones for heavan's sake. And when is the last time you paddled with a group in which at least one person didn't have an Optio or similar water proof camera? What next?
What next is videos. In those same basements and attics are often found boxes of old 8mm and super 8 reels of usually awful films that we used to watch on crummy projectors. They lie in hibernation to probably never be viewed again (where would you get the bulb for your projector?). Enter the pixel. Enter digital videos.
Now, with set ups like JB's, we can relive the motion of the moment, and the quality is amazingly excellent. But like photos (all the digital ones that never got printed is a topic for another day), how many of these videos actually get seen...a second time? JB carries a portable player with him so that we can see what he's shot on the big screen as we sip coffee. And a lot of bloggers now put video clips on their sites as easily (easy for them) as posting a pic. Still, I bet there are thousands and millions of hours of video (digital and film) that go un-re-seen.
The problem, I believe, is financial and over supply. Most folks can afford a digital camera of some sort. Add to that the fact that they do not need to purchase film or pay to have it developed and we have a bunch of people who shoot images like a soldier shooting a machine gun. Lots and lots of pretty bad stuff gets recorded. Like shopping (mall therapy), the act of shooting seems to be a quick fix with little need to follow up and actually see the images again. It is as if the shooters are more in love with the freedom derived from the technology than any soul desire to capture and relive the moment.
Now, we can get picture frames that automatically scroll through and display images on a card. The quality is excellent. Me? I often print my pictures, often in large format (11x 14). When I see those images on the wall they bring back fond memories. And the others? Well, a lot of them end up here where I can call them up on my computer and enjoy them again.
A picture is worth a thousand words. A thousand pictures can create babble.
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ready Or Not...
It is with great restraint that I use my index finger to indicate the blue stuff on this morning's radar map. My finger tip is, of course, on Iowa, and the blue thingy extends diagonally up and across Wisconsin. Within that blue blob is 13-18 inches worth of heavy wet snow. It is expected to continue falling until late this afternoon.
Everything is shutting down, and the plows are already out working the interstate and main roads. I have more work to do at home as I am presently writing questions for an Anatomy & Physiology text book for a publisher. Still, I would like to know that I have the option to paddle if I wished...but I don't.
So, ready or not, here it comes. Most of us will be house bound except for brief excursions out to shovel or snow blow the drive ways. And it is only February 6th.
Paddle safe...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

They, Us and Them
There are, according to the Silbs Scientific System of Categorization (SSC), three types of inhabitants up here where temps can get below 0 degrees F. SSC requires only that you know how the person you wish to categorize feels about and handles the winter months.
SSC I: These folks hate winter and loath the cold. Now, while there is a bit of this present in type II folks, it is the dominant attitude of the Type I species. These folks only appear outside to get essential food and to go to work/school. They are occassionaly spotted being carried by stretcher to an ambulance when their indoor sedentary life results in a heart attack. Family, jobs, financis and/or laziness prevents them from moving south. Some simply stay here because they cannot get their cars started.
SSC III: (I know, I skiipped group II. Just work with me here). These are the Michaels of the world. They ski and snow shoe and, generally, revel in the piles of snow that come too soon and stay too long. One fascinating subset of these folks actually drive their cars out onto the ice, park them there (with hot engines melting the ice) and saw a hole in the lake so they might fish! Another off shoot of this general group (and often seen hee in Wisconsin) is the species mobilis obesus. These are surprisingly over weight, well insulated men in bulky suits who love to go out into a pristine snow scene on a quite night and roar about in the dark on their soot-producing snowmobiles as they go from bar to bar.
SSC II: (Told you I would get to it). I am in this group. We never enter essay contests on the subject of why I love winter. We realize this is a natural phenomena and that it will, eventually, pass. We accept that it is nature's way of killing off the weak (read: snowmobilers) and that it allows Mother Earth to rest up for another growing season. So we paddle, bird watch, walk and do what we can to keep up our physical and mental health until the big thaw occurs. We can also be found in gyms, bars and comfy chairs in front of fire places. We stay here because of friends and families, although a huge percentage of us flee the cold and absurd taxes by heading south when we retire. We also support the travel agencies by buying tickets to Florida and Arizona.
There you have it. Hopefully, you will now understand us better when you visit. On the other hand, if you are coming for a visit, I'd recommend July or August.
Paddle safe...

Monday, February 04, 2008

You Can't Go Home Again
(if the ice shifts)

I was all set to paddle yesterday. It would have marked my glorious return to the big lake. But, alas, while getting ready to leave my home, I bent over and felt that warning twinge in my lower back. Having experienced I don't know how many episodes of crippling back spasms I judged it best not to try to move a kayaking up and down ice shelves. Still, I could go down to Bradford Beach and do some photography.

I waited for the three paddlers I knew were out there and out of sight (I counted cars with racks on them). After awhile, they appeared from the north, and they were making slow progress. It was then that I turned around to discover the wind was building from the south. That's when I heard the slush and sheets of the ice off shore grinding and rubbing as the entire mess tried to move north. Large berg-type formations trapped them where they were.It took Sherri, JB and Bob a good while to find a path and to paddle and pole their way to somewhere that they could use to get on shore. Eventually, they each took a run at a near shore shelf and paddled onto terra freezum.
(JB in his Explorer...note video set
up on fore deck)
This has happened to us before when the weather forecast (read: best guess...but I digress) did not warn of a shift in winds. Turns out that getting in to and on to the lake is a lot easier than getting out. Later, over coffee and soup, I learned that the last few miles of their trip was a matter of picking and plowing a path back to the launch site. As we watched JB's video (he carries an entire theater set up with him), I realized that, had things gotten worse, the three of them could have ended up needing rescue. Then, even more folks would have been put at risk.
Paddle safe...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Among the things I Miss
What I like about kayaking, especially tradional style, is the feel. Once I learn a roll and have that muscle memory, I revel in going through the technique slowly while enjoying the feel of control. Of course, when it goes to hell in a hand basket the pleasure is not quite so intense.,
When I had two good legs and ran marathons I reveled in the runner's high that would come on after 3-4 miles. It was a sensation of effortless gliding over the ground. Irreplacable.
But nothing has ever replaced the total body feeling of the movement, the balance and control of playing Judo. I still dwell on fond memories of moments in tournament competition when a much larger man would attack with the certainty of an irresistable force. I remember the utter calmness I would experience at such a moment as I let my opponent enter his own trap and the instant when, in my yielding, I melded my form and motion with his. Much stronger than me, he was no match for all his strength plus mine. It was in slow motion that I would execute an Uchi Mata or a Harai Goshi. Together, we would fly, and roll and return to earth, me on top.
Oh yeah, I remember as I sit here stiff and achy from yesteday's workout. I remember as I wonder how much longer this aging body will put up with my nonsense. I remember as I check the weather report and know that I will be going out there again, and soon. And, I know, I will experience the joy of the motion of the water, the control of a brace or a scull or a roll. Still got something left. Game on.
Paddle safe...