Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rollin on the River...

I will be the first to admit I did not feel like going.

As the sunlight poured through the slats in the window shutters, I was cozy and comfortable and reveling in my lazy Saturday morning slumber. Keith had proposed that we take a family canoe trip down the Duck River and had even gone so far as making reservations. Ugghh....I thought to myself as I pondered a day in the heat rowing a canoe with two whiny children in tow. But up I bounded, located bathing suits, towels and sunglasses and off we went.

After checking in at the canoeing company, we drove down a gravel road with dust flying. I was still in full doubt mode that this outing was going to end up well. That is, until I saw the excitement on my youngest son's face when he realized he would be riding a big, yellow school bus down to our drop-off point. The sheer joy he exhibited brought a glimmer of hope that this might have been a good idea after all.

Boy, was it ever.

As the bus made its way down to the water, I realized this was exactly what I needed... what WE as a family needed. The laid-back feel of the whole process set the tone for the day as nothing felt rushed or scheduled. It was truly an "at-your-own-pace" experience which fit us to a "T." We selected a canoe, got the boys secured into their life jackets, got settled into our boat and off we went. The minute we pushed off I knew it was going to be a good day.

The sun was warm and the breeze cool as we slowly rowed down the first stretch of the river. Keith was in the back to steer and I was up front with the boys sitting on the floor in the middle of the canoe. They took delight in pointing out every butterfly, dragonfly or stick in the water that they were sure was an alligator or snake. We rowed past large outcroppings of rock and under trees with bent branches drooping over the water creating canopies of refreshing shade along the way.

At one point, I challenged the boys to be completely still and quiet to see how many different sounds they could take in as we floated. Surprisingly, they accepted the challenge and we all soaked in the sounds of nature around us. Cicadas buzzed in the distance as the gentle breeze brushed through the branches of the trees above us. The gentle lapping of the water on the rocks mingled with the sound of our oars gliding through the water. It was, without doubt, one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. Sure, I have had quiet times alone that were "peaceful"...but this rare moment of solitude with boys that are normally going at mach-10 was special to say the least.

And to think, if I had had my way, I woulda missed it all...Jacob's school bus excitement, the colorful canoes lined up by the shore and feeling of freedom as we pushed off at the start. I woulda missed picking out the perfect swimming hole, tossing the boys through the air, the laughter that always followed as soon as they returned to the surface, and the feeling of contentment that washed over me as I floated on my back staring up at a cloudless blue sky.

I woulda missed it all... but I didn't. And as we made our way back up that same dusty gravel road to head home, I was thankful I gave up a lazy Saturday morning and took the road, or in this case the river, less traveled.

It indeed made all the difference.

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing." ~ Henry David Thoreau

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As my afternoon was spiraling out of control, this provided a moment of pause and reflection.

You are a wonderful writer. Keep sharing your gift with the world.

I love you,