Why Paddling Is Important - Kevin Callan
Posted by: old_user on Mar-23-11 9:57 AM (EST)
Another great article by Kevin....definitely why paddling is so important to many of us....I know after my Dad passed away, I got back into canoeing in a bigger way than I have in years....partly in memory of earlier times we'd spent together (my Dad was the first to get me into a canoe....he bought a Peterborough wood canvas when I was 5 or 6)....and certainly as way to 'unwind' after the funeral etc.....a couple days on a canoe trip was great tonic....and I've gotten back to canoeing in a big way ever since....because it's something I needed at the time....and something I need every day....well every day I get out on the water (in the winter we do have problem with 'hard water' up here in the Great White North)....as I once wrote elsewhere:
I paddle a canoe as a past-time. Beyond the simple mechanics of paddling is the actual dance of the canoe. We create the sheer poetry of motion by making a rhythm or even music with the canoe; literally making the canoe dance. Just as there are no wrong notes in making music (at least in the purest sense), even if we don’t know the exact correct paddle strokes, we can move that canoe, creating our own poetry or dance. As we become more proficient in paddling we can create a more intricate dance. But when we come to add emotion to our paddling, we create a vision. Then that canoe dance almost seems to takes on a life of its own. It is more than just mere paddling…almost as if that canoe becomes an extension of ourselves. Freeing ourselves. And the canoe is the vehicle or instrument to such freedom. The freedom found in making beautiful music together with my canoe.
If I get out and paddle my canoe, I feel freedom. That much I’ve stated here before. But freedom from what????? Certainly freedom from stress. Possibly freedom of expression in that I am able to express myself in a way that is definitely free….not only in cost, but in freedom of spirit and emotion. Canoeing is physically freeing too.
Something about gliding on water….going with the flow….having a way to get into spots on the water that no other water craft can so easily….sometimes just drifting along….others moving with purpose and direction (such as when paddling from point A to point B and even in a certain time frame). But no matter how you travel in a canoe, there is part of you that just naturally slows down….finds a natural “groove” at least….a rhythm….and as has been pointed out often (here and otherwise), eventually you become one with your canoe. It might take some practice….learning how to paddle your canoe efficiently and properly….but with time, you do become in “sync” with your canoe….just as it becomes one with the surroundings….blending in so to speak.
So that’s part of this freedom….travelling under your own power in a water craft….that is so well suited to such travel. And you don’t even need music to make your canoe dance. Maybe just the song of your paddle. But the harmony that you and your canoe can form is truly beautiful music. If you’re fortunate enough to become as proficient as a Becky Mason or Karen Knight, your paddling seems almost effortless….too easy in fact. But even for those of us without such skill, we can still paddle our own canoe very freely….still find a way to free ourselves….just being on the water is a way to feel free.
I believe we have an inherent part of us that is in tune with water….the human body is largely water….so we are all part water….and consequently, water is part of us….add in a canoe that is so well suited to being on the water, being part of the water, and you have an interesting equation….and there is a very real “flow” to it. Maybe something as simple as:
YOU + CANOE + WATER = FREEDOM
I have often thought of the freedom I’ve found while canoeing. I felt it was important to bring up....soon it will be time to get out on the water….and free my mind….and free myself from this computer and this desk.
Paddles up until later then. – Mike Ormsby
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