Kayaking

I was on a kayak on the open ocean today. The plan was rather premeditated. In fact, it needed to be as the kayak was on property that is rented out to paying vacationers and to show up in the midst of their revelry would not be appropriate at all. I knew that between the check-out hour of 11:00AM and the check-in hour of 2:00PM I would be able to gather the kayak, hunt for a paddle and life-jacket, and trundle it down the way towards the ocean. Luckily for me these hours coincided with low-tide enabling me to enter and exit the kayak on a soft beach area. Attempts to do so on the rocky island shore I later paddled out to – not so successful.

Piling on the paddle, life-jacket, and waterbottle into my arms along with my rain jacket, I scoped out a pathway to tread down the slippery rocks. It had been raining for days and today’s mistiness, while keeping up the trend of 100% humidity, was a welcome change to falling drops. What it did mean was slick algae covering the rocks to the waterline. Upon reaching the shore, I put down my gear and headed back up to the grass to grab the kayak itself. Keeping in mind the path I’d found on the first trip down, I gripped the forest-green fibreglass body in my arms, resting it against my hip, and searched with my eyes for a secure place to put my feet. This was part of the adventure, I realized, ensuring that I could take this kayak trip truly on my own.

Getting into the water was easy. I stepped in and jiggled my way into the ocean, pushing with both arms, paddle resting precariously across the front of the vessel. Upon lifting off the sandy shore I made a few preliminary wobbles, feeble attempts to flip myself over. I figured I better see just how much give it takes now, inches from the sea bottom, before I got further out and didn’t have the luxury of standing ankle-deep to wade back to shore. Feeling secure I began to paddle, rounding the curve around the miniscule bay I embarked from, and nudging past the buoys of lobster traps. This was nice, I was getting the hang of it.

I’d wanted to go to Curtis Island, a place that, somehow, I hadn’t yet stepped foot on. I traversed the crossing and found myself momentarily lost in wonder, looking out at the Penobscot Bay. The mist obscured the islands I knew were further out beyond my sight. It held everything in a timeless capture, as if the air were preserved by the dampness hanging in it. Eventually I pushed through both the water below me and all around me, making it to the shore of the island. Unfortunately I do not have enough prowess to manoeuvre docking a kayak on a rocky shore-line with ocean waves brandishing me to and fro. After taking in a little bit more water that I would have liked, I decided to abort my island mission and remain instead on the open ocean.

Something happened as I pulled water towards me with each alternating row. I had positioned myself out towards the bay, only the right side of my panoramic view containing the mainland, and suddenly things started lightening up. Squinting from the change in lighting, I pulled my paddle close to me again and again, forcing the water between us to bring me further and further forward. Suddenly a swath of blue made an appearance before me. Blue! I hadn’t seen that colour in the sky for days! I pulled my paddle up, resting it in front of me. Arms limp from the effort of my first kayak trip in years. I sat and watched the ocean.

There I was, a being in a vessel, floating in the middle of the ocean. I looked out over the surface of the water filling with gratitude that I be so lucky as to have this opportunity to be here now. I’ve been coming to see the ocean as this giver of life in the same way that the Earth is. I find it odd that I feel the need to distinguish between the two, yet earth and water are so incredibly different. Here, crustaceans form their shells from the calcium in the water, growing and morphing as they expertly navigate the ecosystem they are a part of. This ecosystem is so foreign to me and yet in it I began to see hints of something that I am more familiar with.

Water is the element that rules and is ruled by the second chakra, svadhisthana. Water is feminine, it is flow and receptivity. The ocean, this enormous entity housing living and breathing beings is a form of Divine Mother Herself. Somehow sitting there in that kayak allowed me to tap into this depth of feeling and understanding of the ocean as this giver of life. I felt connected to the water in the same irrational way I’ve always felt connected to water. I’m an air sign. I grew up in Southern Alberta which, according to my secret scientific experiments, is more desert-like than the vast sandy reaches of Jordan! (OK, I’ll let you in on them – it’s that I get chapped lips in Alberta and never did in Jordan.) Just how is it that the water has always been such a beacon to me? I don’t expect to find answers to all of these rhetorical questions. Nor did I expect to feel this deep understanding for the barnacles on the rocks of the shore and how they were borne from the slippery stuff sloshing around under my legs.

After my paddle I sat for a while on the shore generously offered by low-tide. I sat hoping for my pants to dry and I sat in meditation. Overall, I was satisfied with my experience of the day, knowing that nourishing and creating deepening experiences with Divine Mother is something I want to cultivate in my life. I’m beginning to see how much a relationship with the ocean can shape and form a person. I could certainly say the same of the prairies, but the prairies are something I know and the ocean is a form of Divine Mother that I am happy to be deepening a relationship with. Ultimately, the relationship that truly deepens is the one with myself. I’d wanted to mark the day with some occasion special for myself, turns out a trek on the sea was exactly what I needed.

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