Peace and reflection

It seems we’ve finally reached that point. Destinations have been arrived at (or not, dependent on the weather where you live), presents have been exchanged, food and drink are being consumed and Christmas is almost over. It’s therefore a good opportunity to think back on the year that’s passed by, both the good and the bad bits.

Let’s focus on the good bits. For me, there have been a lot of them, ranging from “routine” pleasures such as yoga class, reading good books, watching birds appear at the feeder etc, to special occurrences such as fully restored vision, no MS relapses and a clear c-spine MRI. As I ponder the past 12 months, however, one thing becomes evident – the really good bits, the ones that stand out the most, tend to involve kayaks and salt water.

Perhaps other paddlers are reaching the same realisation, and it’s interesting to consider why this is so. Of course, there are many positives to kayaking, including: excellent paddling pals, visiting beautiful places, getting up close and personal with the wildlife, gaining confidence from improved skills and so on. To me, however, there’s a little more to it. At risk of being labelled a sandal-wearing, granola-eating hippy, allow me to get a little “spiritual” on you for a moment.

In our technological age, we’ve largely parted company with our roots as nature-based people. In thousands of generations of humanity, only about the last six represent the Industrial Age, an era of technological advancement and consumption that has been accelerated by the abundance of petroleum products. We could view this as evolution, and of course it contains many positives, but we could consider how it has also produced barriers between us and the natural world, as evidenced by the damage to our environment.

At our core, we recognise that something essential and intuitive to us is now missing from our everyday lives. This is the reason why we thrill at natural beauty, at taking on the wind and the waves, at spending time amongst the non-human animals of the sea. It’s not so long ago that our ancestors were much more highly attuned to the ways of nature and the universe, and it’s not forgotten in our genes.

It’s no coincidence that the kayak is a vessel designed by the nature-based Inuit people thousands of years ago. Even although our modern-day versions may be technologically facilitated in terms of the design process and materials used, the fundamentals remain the same. In many ways, the kayak spans time and re-connects us with the elements of which we are a part. It returns to us that which has been lost and helps us to heal. You might say that it comes to us naturally.

So, as I sit here and count my blessings and look forward to a new decade, the thing that I am most grateful for is the ability to get out on the water and engage in the life-affirming and unforgettable experience of being immersed (in every sense!) in the natural world, for however long that opportunity exists. And working in harmony with the healing potential of nature, my intention is to make that opportunity last as long as possible.

The winter solstice has passed and the days are already getting longer. A year full of adventure awaits!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Decade!

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

3 Comments

  1. Once again, Pam a wonderful read and you have nailed it! The feeling and “spiritual” side of being a Kayaker. Keep Paddling and Writing! Paddlers are watching!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to You from the boys at Liquid Rhythm Kayaking!!

    -Sean & Jeff

  2. Hi Pam – you are right on. I am glad to hear that there is no MS relapses and that your recent c-spine MRI was clear. Your observations on parting from our natural roots resonate within my academic and paddling endeavors. Keep it up. – Jeff

  3. pamf says:

    Hi Sean and Jeff – Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging comments. Wishing you and yours a great new decade, filled with happiness, health – and paddling of course!

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