Sunday, October 4, 2015

I'll miss you Miss Sunshine- but just for a while

I was a happy and sad girl yesterday evening- I kayaked the Flambeau probably for the last time of the season.  It was a nice trip, I was dying to get on the river to take some autumn tree pictures, and last weekend I was a bit busy.  In retrospect, it is just fine, because I would have been HIGHLY disappointed as the trees are only now starting to really change.  The color this year is not the brilliant, fiery, warm colors of 2014.  And they are about 2 weeks behind in the change as well.  That is actually ok, that means we have an additional few weeks of actual leaves on the trees.  We like leaves here.

Next weekend I will hopefully be spending  time up in the greater Bayfield area with the Mad-English teacher and the Mad-Science teacher, so there will be no kayaking. (The other factor in all of this is that the MA will be busy elsewhere on weekends, so the kayak mode of transport is gone) The M-ET and I will hike probably twice, because we are like that..... and we enjoy being so tired we can't move on Mondays, it just is our gig.  HA!

Yesterday, as I was loading the kayak in the back of the truck, I again noticed how easy it was for me to tote that thing around.  When I began my kayak adventures in May, it was far far more difficult to do that.  I didn't realize that in May, everything was still difficult.  It was better than in, say, February and March, but I recall really struggling to get the boat into and off of the truck.  Carrying it any distance was a real problem, and it really affected my confidence.  But, I kept at it, as I am a determined little thing - there are those who will testify to that fact.  :)

It seems like life likes to throw little things at you to let you know that you are indeed not really in charge at all.  People, events, situations occur and appear that you never would have invited in at the time that they happen.  Or you may have welcomed them, but you had no idea the real impact they would make.  Some of these events- let's say broken joints- might have given you a chance to truly heal from injuries that have been subtle and insidious, always there and waking you up several times a night.  Or it might have given you a chance to rekindle friendships, allow you time and space to get to know yourself again, or really understand how important your ability to be active really is.  I think the whole - don't take life for granted - was really the lesson I learned.

So I went on many adventures with Miss Sunshine, and she was certainly instrumental in my healing and getting my groove back.  While I did the majority of my physical healing in the winter (wow was that good timing) and was pampered, and fussed over, and watched by many, many, MANY people near and far - I had to find my self confidence again.  Getting this kayak was certainly the right thing at the right time in my life.  I had so many adventures, overcame more fears than any of you can imagine* and had so much fun.  I have my friend Adam to thank for tagging along, and helping me hoist that thing around when I really couldn't do it very well, and enjoying some of the best experiences I've had, ever.  And certainly it was one of the best, if not the best so far, summers of my life.  I have never before thrown all shoulds and shouldn'ts to the wind and just DID.  I regret only a few adventures that didn't happen, but you just never know....

First solo extended kayak- do you detect fear??  ;)

I am all about the feeties in the sun
Kayaking for me has been the best therapy ever.  The motion is gentle, yet you have to dig in when the waters get rough.  The repetition is what strengthens the muscles and the tendons and the bones, but it is easy to stop and rest and "stump" for a moment to take photos and send text messages. So many private little joys.   It gave me a workout in the best possible way in all the places that I needed the recovery.  It provided me a way to become stronger without the use of dumbbells or barbells, which I was not ready for yet. When I tried to begin that too soon, I was just frustrated beyond belief by the amount of strength I had lost.  When I went again in August, after a summer of being on the water, it went much better and I continue to make quick gains.  The physical recovery is matched though, by the recovery I needed in all other areas of my psyche.


Kayaking is a solitary sport, but it is really nice when shared with people.  I did a lot of that this summer, shared my enthusiasm with my friends, both on the water and in photos.  To go with another person, or people but do all the work yourself is just about perfect.  I am so glad I had my #HaveAnAdventure friend with me while we did all of those crazy things- mostly involving waves and large lakes.  We are NOT experienced and we know it, right Adam??  Lol.  Lately, though, I have had to go on the water as I began- by myself.  I needed to gain that confidence of being able to venture out solo.

kayaking friends

So cut to last night- I pulled my bright yellow buddy off the lake.  It was cold.  I know what is coming. I captured a few amazing shots and lots of mediocre ones.  I plunked my stuff on the dock and again got out of the boat without getting my feet wet.  I could stand up without any effort and didn't fall over in the boat (yes that happened.  HAHA)  The change from my first quick paddle around the dock area of Smith Lake- the day I bought the boat- came to mind and I marveled at the changes.  I feel so free on the water, so strong and confident now.  So different than when I started off.  Then it was an effort to keep the kayak going in the right direction, now I have a whole set up for my camera and finally figured out the right settings for these pictures.  Before I was afraid to go far from shore, and now the middle is my favored position- at least in the river.  I can channel Jen and paddle with my feet up on the deck for miles.  I can maneuver around like someone who knows what they are doing.  I still feel like an impostor sometimes, I never would have thought of myself as someone who does a kayak.  I was always a little afraid of the water, though I love being on boats.  I worried about being that low in the river, but am so grateful for the POV when I am taking photos.  I have gone places I have never been before, or seen those places in different ways, and to think the real impetus for this purchase was broken elbows....  amazing.
First time in the water- May 17

I actually shed a few tears, mourning the end of my summer last night, as I drove back home- regretting the end on one of the first days of October.  I think I did a good job of stretching it out as far as I could.  I will wait a few weeks before putting Miss Sunshine away, but I am not anticipating another trip.  I will substitute other adventures for my wavy outings, but I will be thinking of next year, when new and exciting things will be happening.

Some things I will have planned, some things will be spontaneous, some things I am sure will be unexpected, but I will be there to find some joy and be open to the things the universe wants me to know- I can't even imagine, but I can't wait to find out.

*Besides a slight over cautious feeling when I am on water, I also feared dropping my phone/camera/lens/paddle AND after reading the book "Bird Box" there was a whole other dimension to kayaking.....  Lol.... fortunately that didn't last too long.

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