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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kayak episode two.

My first kayak trip was a success. Actually it was a smashing success, a grand slam homerun, an endless celebration of man and machine working in harmony to overcome the difficulty of getting from point A to to point B, and then back to point A. Point A is where the car was, and the cooler full of bottled water, and snack crackers. And my wife, my patient, lovely wife, who agreed to come with me, and help me get started. She knows I get nervous, she knows I watched so many videos, and still had no level of comfort.

She remembers when I decided to quit smoking and asked the doctor for Chantix. She remembers how I read the personal accounts of the character altering horrors of the drug. I started having side effects before I even started taking the drug. I went from Doctor Meek to Mr. Hyde based on the power of suggestion. Oddly enough, I had all the side effects from the reading about the side effects, and didn't have any from the drug.

Where I kayak, the only time I have kayaked, there is a small boat ramp and several muddy beaches to launch a kayak. I chose the muddy beach, because of the hundreds of videos I watched about launching a kayak the beach looked the least likely to end in humiliation, and if it did there were fewer witnesses, and mud is kind of dirty, but it is a lot softer than a concrete boat ramp. Point A.

Point B was almost everywhere else. I just cruised, and stopped, and looked at the choking, strangling trees that crowded the shore everywhere. It was so peaceful, even knowing that humanity and all of its problems were only minutes away in any direction. For a few brief seconds I was sailing around in a world of my own, Except for all the other kayaks, and a few motor boats, and a lot of people standing on the bank fishing. Richard Byrd, James Bruce, Lewis and Clark never felt the sense of serene amazement I had paddling my little plastic boat around the tiny island.

In fairness they probably did not think, "man, think of the poison ivy growing in that jungle." So I guess it kind of evened out. And they probably did not have a cold bottle of sparkling water waiting for them, and a patient wife who listened to the entire trip as if it were a mission to the moon.

I am going out again this weekend, my wife has agreed to take some pictures of me cruising in my "yak" (that is what us kayakers call them, I guess we are too busy for both syllables) and I will post them here. Next month we are going to vacation on Lake Superior. And I will have my kayak on the big lake, the one "they call gitche gumee."* Trust me, my wife hasn't heard anything yet.

*Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot.