What else could you do in Alaska but climb into a kayak and go out onto the bay? The mountains rose steeply above the waves. The small face and gentle eyes of a sea lion watched as I lowered myself into the kayak. My knees protested the bending, but once seated, I picked up my paddle and glided onto the water’s surface. Like the Sea Lion, I had gone from the awkwardness of moving on land to the freedom of moving in water. I also realized I was in the center of that picture that had seduced me to take this trip to the wilderness.
After that experience in Alaska, my husband and I rushed out and bought two kayaks. The modern ones are lightweight, only 40 pounds. Even the inconvenience of putting the kayaks on the roof of our van and driving to a nearby lake or stream is a small aggravation completely overcome by the splendor of the kayaking experience. Whenever I feel tired of the rudeness and hostilities of the human world, I return to the world of nature and view it from the seat of a kayak.
While paddling around, I have had the opportunity to look closely at beaver, muskrat and black snakes as they swim along the side of my kayak. Near the shoreline of many lakes and streams, I have seen warblers singing among the reeds and wild flowers blooming on the banks. Above in the blue sky, I have seen hawks soaring in the soothing spring sunshine. One day, as I was paddling along, I watched as an Osprey dove into the water--right in front of my kayak--and caught a fish. Catching food is one of the successful moments of survival in nature. But the fish was soon grabbed out of the Osprey's grip by a Bald Eagle that snatched it and flew away.
I was furious. I thought I was getting away from such rude behavior! But survival is the goal and the drive to survive shows that humans are also a part of nature. Kayaking gave me the opportunity to view nature's drama through the lives of other species.