Memories of going nowhere


nowhereToday’s post, as is often the case, is brought to you courtesy of my daily walk.  (Correction: no longer daily, now that tennis has returned for three days a week.)

Heading out today I faced a stiff headwind that attempted to impede me from my forward progress.  This prompted a memory to bubble up from a past adventure.

Living a reasonably insular life, I tend to be less the initiator of activities.  However, I am happy to join on most outdoor fun that doesn’t involve cold (put down the Colorado brochures and back away from me…slowly).  Consequently, when a more adventurous friend than me suggested we go kayaking, I agreed quickly.

Having spent some time canoeing during my college time in Gainesville, I imagined kayaking would be similar.  Eh, not so much.

My friend had only been out a few times before me, but she seemed much more at ease in the kayak than me (these were one person kayaks).  I stared dubiously at the oddly shaped craft and gingerly seated myself inside.  I felt a little like a kid at the dining table in an adult chair.

We were going to traverse a liquid confection we locally called the “New River”, a watery path in and around some rather impressive homes in Fort Lauderdale.

As expected, my first few minutes were spent clumsily flailing about trying to get the kayak to go in the direction it was supposed to (i.e., forward).  After a while, I started to make progress.

For a time, all was right in the world.  We paddled and drifted past some pretty homes and nice boats all under a gorgeous sky on a warm, if windy day.  Shielded as we were in the small canals, we made excellent time.  Then it all came to a stop.  Literally.

The canal emptied into the larger waterway in a big cross, a four-way intersection of great girth.  No longer buffered by trees and houses, the full impact of the wind nearly put an end to my day.

Like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, I paddled and paddled and made no headway against the wind.  To my consternation, I saw my friend pulling away without apparent difficulty.  How mortifying!

Was I lost forever, adrift until the waterway was renamed “Old River”?  Obviously not.  Somehow, I managed to persevere.  I may have hunkered down, I may have dug deeper or paddled faster.  That part of the memory has not resurfaced.

What I do remember is that my shoulders, arms and lower back were terribly sore after the finish of our five-mile sojourn.  Perhaps that wasn’t the wisest “starter voyage” for me to venture on my first kayaking attempt, but, hey, I made it!

The next time we went kayaking, I did much better, but we haven’t been kayaking since.  I expect I would be back where I started if I decided to take one out again today.  But, agreeable as I am, I would do it in a minute if someone wanted me to join them.

That momentary battle with the wind this morning brought back the memory of sitting in the kayak and paddling furiously and going nowhere.  I’ve never worked so hard for nothing before or since!

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