Today was a special paddle on a special day. Mom and I did a combination Bay - Bayou - Sound - Channel paddle to experience much of what Graveline has to offer. Not all, of course -- there is always more! But we paddled the whole main channel of the bayou, fortunately before 7am before the holiday traffic. Then we went out into the sound at the mouth of the bayou. Instantly the water changes beneath the kayak when you feel the first ocean waves. A gentle toss, today. We went along Graveline beach to a spot where we knew we could portage across to the channel. A good selection of birds out today, and one tiny gator spotted in the channel. Other than that, a quiet day with a gentle breeze... the water is nice... warmer than cool, but cooler than warm.
So what is special about today? 10 years ago today, I started this blog. It became a way to chronicle my kayak adventures and share them. I've described somewhere in these chronicles how kayaking was the first time I really learned how to follow a passion. There have been many since, but this was the first. Not born of responsibility, or someone else's interest -- purely mine, and I fed it. I rode that wave of initial interest past the hard part of learning, letting the excitement pull me deeper into exploration of all it had to offer. My family supported me in this and I've often appreciated that. Isn't it true that we sometimes consciously or unconsciously dampen the enthusiasm of those around us when they find a new "thing"? Don't. It is a precious commodity. Particularly when the interest sparks on something that can become a healthy habit, like exercise. Nurture it! In yourselves and those you love. It is a great gift, and wonderful things can come from it.
Kayaking is still important to me, though I don't do it as often. It brings a really nice "combination" experience in a natural setting. You can pay attention to the sky, the weather, the wind. Or, focus on the land nearby; the swampgrass, the trees, the beach. Then there's the water: currents, tides, waves, patterns, ripples, sounds. Dangle your hands or feet in it as you go along. That makes you think about what's IN the water... fish, gators, jellyfish, crabs, oysters, and more. And finally, you can go inward, focusing on what is happening in your body as you paddle, easy or more energetically, or your mind, letting it wander or generating a kind of meditation-like focus, then seeing what comes up. It's a way to allow your mind the time to bubble up what it wants to, in its own way. Somehow out there, it's safer. It's expansive. It can come back with you, or it can be left out there. Either way, you will retun to the rest of your life with a greater peace, after your time on the water.
Here's to another 10 years!