Our lives take on a pattern of rhythms and cycles that are comforting and give us a sense of being grounded. We navigate our lives by various waypoints along the way… holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, the change of seasons, vacations, retirement, and so on. We anticipate these times; we mark them down on our calendars, and our lives have a sense of direction with these “cairns” that mark our journey through a given year or a lifetime. There is a particular cairn on my journey that I come to every year about this same time. It is like a canoe paddle sticking out of a snow bank and if it could speak, it would say “Get ready…it’s almost time to paddle.”
The winter is just about over. Yes, there will be those late season snowstorms, and single digit temps that mildly depress us after a few unexpected warm days make us think that spring just might come early this year. But, there is no doubt about it…the time for paddling a canoe is not far away. I look at that “paddle in the snow” and would love to grab it and head out today. Someday, when I am retired, Diane and I will be able to put the canoe on our truck and head south to open water, but in the meantime, I dream about it.
The anticipation is pretty intense. Often I will wake up very early in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep. As I lay there my mind flits from one thing to the next, but this time of year it lingers on one topic. Canoeing. I think of past trips, picture memorable campsites, relive portages that stick in my memory, remember fish that were caught, and think about where we should to go on our next trip. It is hard to go back to sleep when I let my mind wander in this way.
It is probably best that we can’t speed up the clock because life is too fleeting as it is; but it’s difficult to be patient in February. I look out my window and see drifts of snow and feel the warmth of the woodstove and think to myself…relax. The time to paddle will be here before you know it. Enjoy today. So, I go outside and there in the snow bank next to my snowshoes, is that paddle, and it whispers to me…Get Ready. I grab my snowshoes and the paddle disappears. But….I am getting ready.
See you on the water…