Towards the end of our paddle yesterday a bald eagle swooped past us, its unmistakable white tail feathers catching the light before lifting far above into the blue sky out of sight. It was a surprise and a gift seeing Al (what I’ve named any eagle I see at Lone Star – ask me about it sometime) and one of the many reasons why I love paddle boarding. “Put yourself in the way of beauty,” Cheryl Strayed said – I suggest getting on the water.
I have lived the majority of my life in a landlocked state. Yes, there are lakes and rivers in Kansas. No, I haven’t been much interested in them until I got my paddle board two years ago. From the water, going slowly using the strength of my arms (and sometimes wind), I experience a viewpoint unlike any other. I’ve been startled by blue herons, delighted by jumping fish, surrounded by butterflies, intimidated by eagles, fascinated by snakes and welcomed by the sun. I’ve heard the music of breaking ice, forged ahead through the dense fog and sweat so much into my eyes I felt blinded. I feel so lucky.
Conversation while paddling has an unhurried quality; there are no ringing phones or new texts to distract. Small talk falls away and we have time to explore ideas or question deeply. I have two paddling partners and I cherish the time we have on the water together. Paddling alone is where I’ve had some of my best ideas. Have you ever thought about creating a space where you can think? For me, it’s on my paddle board. I feel so lucky.
I’ve been so moved by my time on the water that I gave my memoir the title Float On with a nod toward it. I float on the Kansas waters putting myself in the way of beauty. I float on through circumstances that threaten to pull me under. I float on appreciating the moment I’m in and looking forward to the one to come. I can’t help it – I feel so lucky.