We spent much of the previous week running down some of Ontario’s rivers near the Madawaska Kanu Centre. Whitewater is so humbling in that it has such force that you need to work with it, rather than against it, to be successful in getting your boat to where you want to go. Rivers teach you to go with the current, to use current, and on occasion to go against the current. Sometimes we have to go right to go left. To aim above where you’re going, to arrive just where you need to be.
All good lessons-for both whitewater boating and for life. It’s my birthday today and like, New Year’s Day, is an invitation for reflection. A day for both celebration and taking stock. Where was I one year ago? Five years ago? Thirty years ago? Where do I want to be in a year? Two years? Two decades? How can I get there? Which currents are sweeping me along out of control? Which waves am I using to move my boat subtly one way or the other? How can I paddle with less effort but make more miles? What rapids are looming? How good is my low brace? What about my righting pry? Are there deep recirculating holes that may trap and spin me around and around depleting me of motivation and desire? What brings excitement and joy? The fiery wet tops of the standing waves or the cool calmness of the quiet steadies?
Indeed, my life is like a river. Flowing. Times filled with intense energy and focus. Times filled with placid stillness. But always moving. Somewhere. Sometimes in directions I choose and sometimes at the mercy and grace of the current. Times to paddle hard and times to surrender. Times to appreciate the deep intense beauty that surrounds me daily and times to appreciate those who paddle the river with me.
Thanks to all for your your care, support, and companionship on this river of my life. I appreciate your wisdom, humour, and friendship. Thanks to my parents and grandparents for taking me to the headwaters and setting me out on the current that will take me to the sea.