A couple of weeks ago I accepted an invitation to join an old friend out on the lake, kayaking. We decided on meeting around 5:30 AM in an effort to be on the lake for the sun’s triumphant entry into the day. I have always been a sucker for a sunrise or sunset. It is the grandest gesture to be made in a single day. I am continually romanced by nature, one of my favorite things.
I show up on this day bright and early, I assist with walking the kayaks down the short walk to the shore and, in no time, we descend onto the glass like water. This was my first experience kayaking, it seemed easy enough. I was confident in my abilities athletically. I mean, just paddle right? Self-explanatory. I am relieved that we are essentially the only people on the lake at this point. It made my adolescent kayaking experience so much easier. No wake to fight and it was early enough to not worry about stewarding an awareness and avoidance of inebriated boat captains. A couple of my fears had been put to rest right at the beginning of this adventure. Color me content.
We set out at a laid back pace, taking in all the scenery around us. We were in no hurry, just absorbing what the morning, lake, land, and sky had to offer. The tree line stretched on either side of me offering lush green life. We came up on a peninsula, my friend and I were equally curious to find it’s base. We wound up about two miles out from where we started. If you’ve never been kayaking understand this, my complete upper body was letting me know I had worked it at this point. I was getting fairly sore and I was pretty tired. We had taken breaks to just sit and relax, which meant I had to snap photos. The lake was so calm, I stretched out and could have just laid there soaking up the sun all day without a care. Until…
A storm inserted itself into this peaceful experience. No forecast for rain had been mentioned, no warning of a disruption, only sudden chaos (for me). The lake had been like glass prior, as I mentioned. No wake from busy boats or hurried jet skis. No movement at all except the occasional turtle or fish making an appearance above water. The calmness of the water allowed our kayaks to glide across the water with ease, the lowest form of resistance. Obviously with the storm closing in we knew we needed to get back to our starting point. Initially I put my body to work and started paddling back in the general vicinity of our destination. It was mindless, we were on a lake, rain was coming, we needed to not be on that lake any longer so… paddle. Seems basic enough, right? WRONG. The wake had set in from the wind and the rain so now my tired body was fighting to paddle against the inconsistent water. The glistening greenish-brown lake from before was now black and angry, effectively convincing me that all manner of beasts were about to take me under and attack! In my head, I was a goner! The sun was gone. The blue sky was gone and I was frightened. I started to bargain with myself… okay Megan, how can we get out of thia? It was sink or swim, literally.
Needless to say, we survived. We arrived safely to shore and I managed to keep all my crazy at bay to accomplish the task.
While reflecting on that experience, the bizarre weather part, a couple different thought processes were birthed. I thought about my performance physically in the two, extremely different, conditions. I thought about how sometimes in life we are able to confidently perform with ease, it seems like we’re doing really well, only we’re performing in the best possible case scenario. What happens when the scenario changes? Your performance has to change as well. We perform differently in different conditions because life calls for us to. I couldn’t possibly continue paddling the way I was before. It was way too lax for these rougher waters. It took more strategic and strong strokes to effectively make it to shore. I certainly couldn’t sit back and relax like before otherwise I would have been thrown every which way. I wanted to though. My body hurt and was aggressively asking me to be still. I considered every possibility for how to get out of this without having to paddle anymore, there werent many and they were bad ideas. I paddled, we made it, and i didnt die. So, win.
I’m thankful for the experience, it gave me one more notch in the belt of things I am capable of. I’ll leave y’all with a couple quotes from one of my favorite books, The Alchemist.
“People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.”
“Once you get into the desert, there’s no going back,” said the camel driver. “And when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”