Kayaking lessons about life

                   Lake Tahoe is gorgeous!

Squeezed into a crazy summer of writing and helping my mom has been a handful of afternoons kayaking on lakes near us in the Sierras.

Craig and I bought the kayaks on clearance last fall, but didn’t get a chance to take them out until late June. As we’ve been paddling around in them, I’ve loved the by-myself-but-with-him-at-the-same-time moments–quiet time that has given me time to reflect. And I realized that I’m learning some things about life as I paddle along.

You work, then you play. Getting to the lake takes preparation. We have to lift those heavy things up on top of the Jeep and strap them down carefully. We have to get together all the essentials, too. One day we got most of the way to Lake Tahoe and realized we didn’t have either the life jackets or the paddles. We were just about up a creek without a paddle! This is true with life, too–you don’t get to play all the time. You have to do the heavy lifting (called a job) and then you get some Sabbath rest.

The world is lovely. Each lake we have visited has been gorgeous. The Sierra-Nevada Mountains had an abundance of snow this year (over 700 inches), so the lakes are full to the brim, reflecting the blue sky. Wildflowers decorate the shorelines. Rock formations draw you around the next curve. But I have to lift my eyes from the paddles up and around to notice it all. The loveliness exists not only at the lakes, though. It’s in architectural lines of city buildings. It’s in a sunset or sunrise. It’s in the eyes of the person in front of you. You just have to look past your life paddles to notice.

Heading directly into the challenge is best. Power boats become Kayak Enemy No. 1, because they send a wake right sidewise into you, which could cause you to tip over. I’ve learned instead to turn directly toward that wake. The challenges of life are also best handled directly. If we try to skirt them or run from them, they can sink us.

I’m hoping Craig and I will get out on the water again this week. Nearby Lake Davis is at the top of my list, then there is a whole series of alpine lakes in the Lakes Basin area of Sierra County, where we live. I’m sure there are more lessons ahead as we paddle along.

Hey, reader: What kinds of outdoor summer fun do you enjoy the most?

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