2017 Canoe Journeys
I’ve decided to showcase all of my 2017 canoe trips, filled with stories and photographs, on this page, to remember later.
I usually focus on the positives of my canoe rides. Yesterday was not without its beauty. The start of the ride was calm and tranquil – the sea was glass beneath me. All was calm as I set off. Within 5 minutes, this subsided. Small waves trickled. It was less than usual, so I saw no reason for concern. What’s a little turbulence between friends? The fall colors were glorious. Red and orange trees, periods of still waters, and the sweet scent of forest colliding with ocean. The ride there was transfixing, spiritual, moving. I went as far as my grandmother’s, and I saw the pillars that remain from the old railway bridge. I remember being a child in the summer, going there, and being frustrated because no one would let me near the water – I hated being kept from water.
Now, as an adult – I had made it there on my own. I guess I win! After I sat on the shore for a while, I eventually turned around. This is where the journey, like life, turned bitter. The waves suddenly became larger, and I had to canoe much faster – this was fine for a time, but I was tired. It continued on this way for much of the journey home. Then, I spent far too long fighting a sideways current that wanted me to go to the ocean, not return home. After fighting in circles, and wanting to throw up from rowing so hard – I finally pulled up to the shore. And then, back to sea because it wasn’t the right slice of shore (but it was close). I made it home, and made it 5km both ways. I was tired, but not defeated. Isn’t that what life is about? Or something like that…
These words hummed through my speakers as I moved along the waters:
If I could fly
Then I would know
What life looks like from up above and down below
I’d keep you safe
I’d keep you dry
Don’t be afraid Cecilia
I’m the satellite
And you’re the sky
Today’s theme song, and many days, is Cecilia And The Satellite by Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness.
I could see above me, and below, down at the ocean. I suppose, the closest to wings that we can ask without being fully enclosed is the water. The day was somber and foggy, yet oddly comforting. The mist leads to a picturesque landscape, for the few feet ahead you can see. Sometimes I feel alone out on the ocean – but then she reminded me that we are never alone as we flow through the veins of the earth. Several schools of fish scattered underneath my canoe – a revel. Oddly, it was the first time I had seen fish while canoeing. The sun tried its best to reach through the fog, but she stayed away until well after I reached land.
Have you ever canoed under a harvest moon? I have (as well as the huge, beautiful moon last time). There’s a few things to note – the waters become choppier even in soft inlets of the ocean, because the moon is a jealous lady. The clouds kept swallowing the moon, but I caught a radiant orange for 5 minutes. Magic wistfully runs through the waters during these Moons. Then, like an old friend, the Sun crept up and swept our beautiful moon away, as though he wanted to dance.
I may not be able to prove it, but I think the meaning of life has something to do with watching the sunrise on the ocean, in a canoe.
There’s not a lot to relay from this morning’s ride. The Eagles’ “Take It Easy” played as I set off, and that is what I did. I went a bit further considering I took the time to have a picnic on the beach. A sea of starfish met me. All blue and beautiful. I can’t count how many I saw. This is a lot considering last month was my first, ever. Have you ever fell in love with rocks, trees, water? Starfish? This morning was a sun-kissed adventure. I know the sensory struggles are going to pop back up, but this truly was a good moment. I love the sea. (5:24 – 7:04)
After a couple of weeks of feeling like death (including an ear infection in both ears) I was finally ready to hit the water again. My arms are a little tired after that, and of course, a dip in the pool for 30 minutes. It’s satisfying to get back to it. I stopped on the beach 20 minutes in because I was feeling a bit lagged. I don’t regret a thing, since I got to see a cute little starfish. Lots of serenity as the cool morning air met the relatively warm ocean. When the sun came up over the mist it was fire.
It wasn’t a long run, because of sensory fatigue all week. It was something. 🛶
The topic of this morning’s canoe journey is not what you can see in the photos, but what you cannot. A certain mysticism runs over you when you roll your canoe out into the fog. Granted, it wasn’t as foggy when I left as when I got back – but I knew what I was in for. The sensory vacation that unwinded as I hurled my canoe into the abyss was beyond amazing. Armed with a camera, my ancient iPod, and a paddle… I floated along the shore to some songs that were unforgettable. Free Bird poetically chose to play on its own – the world was in sync as the canoe beat gently across the calm, but white-covered water. I made it farther (nearly double) than I have before. On the way back the canoe decided to fight me and drift to shore – as close as I could get without hitting sand I saw my first live starfish clinging to the rockbed. I didn’t think to take a photo, but I wonder if some things should just live in your memory. The ocean tells her own stories. As I made my way back I began to feel anxiety. I tensed up as I knew I should be back to shore by now. I was not. I kept trailing along the edge, unable to see more than 20 feet beside me. As the anxiety grew, and shorelines became jumbled… I saw trees and rock. First I was disoriented. Was I up the hill? Down? Had I somehow wandered the wrong direction (barely possible, but the fog does things to your mind). Soon after I saw the familiar stretch of rock that led me back home. All in all, a good morning, wouldn’t you say?
I am thankful for morning canoe rides, which help me with putting my sensory disorder into perspective. Not every moment has to be a sensory nightmare. I canoed out in the early dawn (5) and got to watch the sunrise fully as I came back. Worth it. By the way, Jen – if it weren’t for people like you I’d be a crippled mess. Also, Maddy and Tim for putting up with me! And Michelle because mom — I’m a nightmare, and you cope.
I also had a 35 minute swim! Morning complete.
I am also thankful for Google Maps, allowing me to map out my jumbled, ADHD-filled canoeing patterns. Today I doubled how long I went, and for many that’s not a big deal… for me these past months it has been a trial to even get out of bed. Every day is a battle. This morning was a small (large) victory.
// I love the ocean, I’m from Nova Scotia,
And summer’s in the air //
Mornings were made for Canoe-paddles.
If the ocean is the heart of the world, then the rivers leading out to it are its veins. All things considered, it was a beautiful evening for a canoe ride.