I don’t know that these experiences qualify as adventures. But they are experiences that merit writing, merit going down into some form of an emotional archive so someday I can unshelve these words and walk down these memories once more.
Yesterday, I promised Pat I’d go kayaking. But I didn’t want to. I don’t know why; I just know that I want to hide, wanted to avoid the world and sink far beneath the edges of the world. It’s not that anything was wrong. It’s not that I was unhappy. I wanted to sit in my recliner or in my office and be nothing. Live as everything and live as silence and peace.
I tried to get the Girl to go kayaking with Pat but she seemed uncertain and he was uncertain about forcing her to go since she was uncertain. And this labyrinth of doubt pulled me into Pat’s car and we drove to a local park, unloaded our kayaks, and pushed ourselves out into the water.
With quick strokes, we were out, gliding across the water. As our boats skimmed the surface, two families of geese approached. In both flocks, the youth’s heads were covered in molted feathers, making them look like punked out, angsty teens. In the second group, a parent swam out to challenge Pat and me, bobbing its head up and down, hissing while ruffling its feathers. I tried to boat past it but the goose started racing me back towards its family, water rumpling up behind in its violent strokes. Finally, I realized that I was only causing the poor animal anxiety. I dipped my paddle deep on the right side, made a sharp left turn, and followed Pat into the water lily filled channel.
At first, we skirted the forest of water lilies, keeping closer to the shore so as not to disturb the flora. However, despite our best and most nobel efforts, Pat’s boat was slapped by a beaver. We paddled as far as we could, eventually arriving at the point where the channel was blocked by fallen trees. We knew that with some ingenuity and effort, we could carry our kayaks over the obstacles and continue our journey, but Pat’s shift was hours from starting.
At the edge of the channel’s end, a doe stood, wither deep, in the water, staring at us. On the embankment behind her, a young buck with newly emerged antlers, stood, also watching us. Pat and I stopped paddling, let our boats slowly glide to a stop, and together we watched the deer watching us. The doe flicked her tail, her ears shifting forward to indicate her listening to us to flicking backwards, listening to whatever was behind her. After assessing that we were clearly not a threat, she turned and high stepped out of the water, casually walking up the bank to the buck.
Briefly, they sniffed each other, a tender moment in which they recognized one another. And then, they turned, walked back to the forest, penetrated the layer of trees and were bisected by tree trunks. When Pat and I understood that our odyssey had ended and turned around to return to the dock, we once more watched the doe and the buck, possibly her yearling son from last year, move along the edge of the water where they were joined by a fawn clearly born this last spring.
Flickers of movement among the trees and Pat and I wondered if maybe the doe had twins. Another flicker of movement, a couple of sweeps with the paddle, and we lost sight of the deer. But, in our distraction, Pat and I were caught thick within the heavy root systems of the water lily archipelago. We both felt guilty for disturbing the flowers but understood that the only way to escape more destruction was to find the easiest path of return.
Through the lilies.
In some way, I felt like we were Buddhists walking through a cloud of lotus blossoms. The thick, heavy, dark-green buds lurked just at the water’s surface. Elsewhere, the spindly blossoms opened their faces to the sun and…and all was well. We were part of the world. We floated on its surface and touched nothing but were touched and affected by everything.
This was the first Wednesday of summer vacation. A day on which I returned home and put a second coat of paint on the front porch and then started painting the shutters. I am transforming my home.
I am being transformed by the world that surrounds me.
Today, thunder storms woke me early and I abandoned any possibility of kayaking. When I finally had awakened enough and wasted enough time on stupid computer games, I put on my shoes and walked to the gym. There, I walked for three miles. And then I left and walked home.
Ten miles. And as I walked the miles, I followed the tidal sounds of may music on my iPod. Surreptitiously, I mouthed the songs because I was afraid of bothering people with my singing. I worried about seeming disturbed, but trying not to at least fake sing along with amazing music artists was impossible.
Ten miles, I walked to prepare for my hike on the AT. I carried a plastic bag that held my iPod, two ibuprofen tablets, and a Clif bar. At one point, my husband, on his way to work, pulled over and I got in his car and laughed and giggled while trying to flirt with him. He offered to drive me home, offered to drive me to the library so I could get home quicker. Instead, I kissed him good-bye and got back on the road and went home, limping at times, humming at others.
This is summer vacation for me. Choosing to step outside the boundaries that have been so familiar to me for four decades and seeking something new. Today, I received my first book in the #savetheculture challenge. I am not one for copying and pasting other people’s Facebook posts, but I couldn’t resist this one….couldn’t resist being part of a book challenge.
And sitting next to me is my newest book, Bloodsucking Fiends. I’m not one for vampire literature, but I am delighted that this book arrived and can’t wait to start reading. It’s time for a new adventure…