So here’s my confession. I’m a self-taught paddler and I’m not very good at it. I bump my paddle against the gunwale too many times (sorry Badger Paddles!!) and my form – if I actually have any form – would make an experienced paddler cringe.
I probably look like I’ve consumed a few too many “grown-up” drinks as I weave my way across the water, because my steering skills are a bit challenged.
I don’t know the name of any paddle strokes beyond the J stroke and I’m pretty sure I don’t do that particular stroke correctly.
But you know what? At the very moment I took this picture a few days ago it didn’t matter much….
I was enjoying some alone time. Me time. Gayle time.
I was on Canisbay Lake in Algonquin Park. All. By. My. Self.
And it was awesome.
The sound of my paddle dipping in and out of the water (with the occasional thunk to mix it up a bit) was lyrical. The lapping of the water against the sides of the canoe was peaceful. The sound of birds singing in the reeds at the waters edge was joyful.
What was in store just a few strokes ahead? A moose on the shore – that creature that has alluded me far too many times? No. Just a mama duck and her babes experiencing their own kind of paddle.
For a brief, wonderful moment I felt connected to all who have set out for adventure paddling the waters of Algonquin and I understood the allure of escaping and exploring the back country by canoe.
In the moment, I was a real paddler.
And then, I paddled back to my launch site and to my little family patiently waiting for my return. They were full of smiles, ready to help pull out the canoe and head back to our campsite.
At that moment I was back to being mom, wife, friend.
And you know what? That was awesome, too.