Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Zen of kayaking

I've been told that I'm easily aggravated. Driving a motor vehicle is a particular aggravation. Like most drivers I am firmly convinced that anyone that drives faster than me is a maniac and anyone that drives slower is suffering from senility. My friends from northern Wisconsin are convinced that we "citidiots" will all have an aneurysm burst at some point on the overcrowded freeways. Drive throughs are another prime source of aggravation. The guy in front of you at the drive through teller that appears to be closing a home mortgage using the little pneumatic tube is a particular joy. So is the yahoo in the long line at the fast food drive through at lunch that gets up to the window and then looks at the menu board like its printed in arabic. I want to leap out of my car (always the one right behind him) and grab him in a Homer Simpson-like choke hold and scream, "You've sat in line for 10 minutes and the menu here has been the same since the Johnson administration.....WTF are you trying to decide!!!!".

The one thing that has never aggravated me is kayaking. When I'm in my boat with my spray skirt snapped down life is always good. A stout headwind, 'the wind in your teeth' as my headgear challenged buddy ToddM would say, can be a bit frustrating but that is much different from being aggravated. Sea kayaking can be challenging, frightening, exhilarating, relaxing, zen-like, calming, and even boring at times. But thankfully its never aggravating. I do recall one time when, after a Inland Sea Society Symposium in Bayfield we paddled past the priest, minister, rabbi, and Anishnabe medicine man standing at the end of the jetty for the Blessing of the Fleet. This tradition goes back several years and after you paddle past the arrayed holy men you figure you must be covered.....right? About an hour later while crossing from the Sioux River to Long Island my skeg cable broke. Deep in the recesses of my brain I felt the I-94/First Bank Drive Thru/McDonalds aggravation synapses begin to fire. For some reason, likely the beautiful weather, spectacular view, and my companion (the VOR), they receded. While I don't know the real reason why I find kayaking to be aggravation free I do know that I'm not going to let that fact bother (or aggravate) me.


Silbs said...

Your brain may be trying to tell you something!

DaveO said...

I think I need to develop some sort of mantra for city related aggravations. I know what my brain is trying to tell me and the plan is to bail for the northland as my dotage approaches.

Silbs said...

Good man. You seem to have handle on it all. Hope all goes for you as planned.