Water – log: 8/16/year 3 – It has been a long time since I’ve written. Why is that? I have been here several times with the kayak, yet didn’t write. Friends from work came for an overnight in June and we talked and laughed late into the night. An out of town friend flew in last week. We beaded bracelets and watch bands and chili pepper earrings! A visit to Fort William Henry was cut short by the daunting heat. A lunch cruise on lake George was followed by a short hike to the top of Prospect Mountain. The adventures ended with a visit to the famous ‘Martha’s’ for ice cream. Then a local friend came up for two full days. We went to Homestyle Restaurant the first night, had breakfast the next day at the Chicken Diner with the 20 foot white chicken standing guard in the parking lot, and then grilled vegetables and turkey burgers later. Between meals we visited antique shops and yard sales and had ice cream – twice! It has been fun. But last night I relaxed in my aloneness, and today I am supposed to be preparing for renters. Yet here I am sitting in the kayak in the middle of the lake. I do love being alone for a while on the water. It brings me such inner peace – more than anything else I can think of. I crave that feeling – don’t find it often, no matter how I try, even with yoga.
I started doing evaluations at a new agency this summer and will finish in two weeks. It has been very stressful. I’m starting to wonder if the stress I feel at work is more about how I approach work than the work itself. I always feel pressured to go above and beyond ‘good enough’ at work – maybe in other places too. I am realizing how driven I really am. It is so difficult for me to relax. I want to stop, but haven’t discovered how – yet. What is it am I driven towards? Or maybe from?
Water – log: 4/22/year 4 – Been here since Thursday around noon. Two trips out in kayak before this one – first trips of the year – felt great. This morning was colder, overcast, promising rain – so I jumped into the kayak for one last trip. I crawled slowly around the edge of the lake where the water remained shallow – I have not seen another person at any of the condos. It was brisk, my hands were chilled, but the overcast sky and wind added their own sense of adventure to the trip -especially when the wind blew hard! I felt like I was battling the wind yet a part of the wind all at the same time! I sat and watched the heron near the swampy outlet – it stood so still, then flew away. I wanted to spread my wings and let the air lift me away with it! The clouds suddenly became dark and I started to head for the shore. Then I heard the tinkling of tiny bells all around me. I scanned the area, confused, doubting my ears when I couldn’t locate a source. I noticed the smooth surface of the lake was covered with spots, then felt the drops lightly stinging the skin on my hands – tiny ice crystals bounced off the my body and the boat, creating the sound as they broke the surface of the water. It was nature’s pure music. Quiet, gentle distinct ‘plinks’ surrounded me, many hitting at the same time, striking an array of notes – like being inside of a chime machine. It lasted only minutes, then disappeared with the returning sun. I made my way to shore, and stood in wonder after exiting, feeling like I had just come from a dream, almost unsure that it had even happened.
Moving on: I paddled around the lake many times, often more than once a day. An affinity grew with the herons that stood with such quiet stillness, the sunfish tending their eggs in concave beds in the shallow waters along the shore, the water bugs with long legs skidding along the surface. Then there were the clever beavers. I could sometimes catch an extended glimpse of one from the tiny sandy ‘beach’ early in the morning or late in the evening – the nose, eyes and forehead just breaking the surface as it sped across the lake to the dam, propelled by a large body with powerful legs and tail hidden beneath. On the water my paddle alerted them to my presence, leaving only the slap of their tail and ripples in the water behind.
The lake became a comfort zone, allowing me to see, hear and feel things I never had before. It was a blessing at the same time that it also took me away from my family. My teenage daughter once stated that I was never home and that her friends asked why I was away so much. I had not realized that anyone cared whether I was home or not, certainly my husband didn’t, and my son was already in college. But I had left her in my quest to find a place to find myself. I stopped making so many trips north.
During the fourth year circumstances pushed both my co-owner and I to put the condo up for sale. We made a little money on it, enough for Ron and I to put a down payment on a small rundown camp on the Mohawk River, much closer to home. It provided another way to connect with the world as experienced from my kayak.
I went back to see the lake I had loved so much only once after that, and although I knew the time for running away from my life at home needed to come to an end, I missed the quiet times on the water there.