Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing. – Henry David Thoreau
We went to the lake today for some end of summer fun. We go often especially at the end of summer and we are trying to take advantage of any nice days from here on out. Bliss had recently gotten a new body board he wanted to try out and Soul is happiest at the lake or the zoo.
After reading a post by Mikmaq Mama I decided we WOULD try going canoeing this year. I have gone back and forth about this since Soul is 2 and not always happy to sit still. I felt a sense of excitement and tranquility at the thought of gliding across the water with my 2 little loves. A shared new journey to experience together. We got on our life jackets, rented the canoe, grabbed the oars and were on our way.
We went out about 100 feet and started turning around in circles by the large rocks sticking out of the lake and after about 7 minutes I finally got us back in. Next I turned the canoe around and got the kids situated better (and the canoe facing forward finally) and to their delight we were back on our way. This time it went so much better, we took off staying along the edges of Sandy Bottom Lake and headed towards the end 3 coves down. Bliss saying "Mama wouldn't it be amazing to go all the way to the end of the lake?!"
The wind at our backs, we glided very quickly down to the very end of the lake. My arms felt great to work hard taking my family on a wonderful adventure. My heart soared as we neared the end and I managed to get us turned around. As we headed back the way we came Bliss told me he loved having conversations with me even more in a canoe than in a car. I felt tears of joy sting my eyes.
We got almost out of the cove we were in when we did a few slow circles. I laughed as we tried to right ourselves and head back the way we came. I got us mostly turned around and tried again only to be turned around again and pushed further out away from where we were headed.
My voice strained a bit as I asked Bliss to also paddle. Soul, who has been very over tired of late felt the strain in my voice and began to cry. Bliss comforted her as I was at the back of the canoe and I spoke to her gently. She calmed and we were back on our way.
This time we went in 3 circles and wobbled twice, then we got further out. At this point Bliss mentioned maybe I should use the whistle they gave me. I told him we were not in danger, just seemingly unable to go the direction we wanted. We had already been out a little over a half an hour.
At this point I realized we should have perhaps paddled up current to start and then would have had a nice time getting back "with" the current. Instead we were at the end of the lake fighting currents and waves from passing boats. We turned back around and I paddled as hard as I could and once again I ended up further away and going the wrong direction. At this point I was laughing a lot but Soul was beginning to really cry again.
So we headed for the other side of the lake, made it their swiftly and went ashore in front of a house. I saw some people outside and asked them if it was OK if we parked there for a bit. They were wonderful and I was able to get Soul on dry ground while she cried and asked to nurse.
The women at the house were so sweet and informed me that the winds were really strong today and asked if they could drive us back to the other side of the lake. We could leave the canoe there and they would drive back someone from the rental place to get the canoe back.
We were all so grateful as we drove back but inside I felt a little foolish and sad. I started to berate myself in my head about how I should have known it was too windy and how it was foolish to go out on the lake with just me and the 2 children. We got back to the beach and turned in our stuff. The lifeguards were wonderful and kind. We thanked everyone and went down to our towels. As we were walking Soul said to me "Mama, I like the boat, I like being in the canoe" and I just paused as I kissed her head.
I took a breath and let it all go.
It HAD been a wonderful adventure.
It HAD been a great experience.
And we WILL canoe again.