I was on a kayaking roll, kayaking for two days in a row, so when I returned home from my mini-vacation, I had the desire to kayak more! The farrier was coming out and some summer students from Cypress County were coming to collect some bales for their float for the Stampede Parade, so my husband couldn't go kayaking. My son wanted to conserve his energy for his football camp, therefore I had no one to kayak with. It is advised to always kayak with another person, so I didn't fill like I should venture out by myself, too far way.
I made a deal with my husband. Since he couldn't kayak with me, would he at least help me carry my kayak to our dugout? He agreed. Yipee! I was very excited. The dugout isn't even close in size to the places I've been kayaking in, but what the heck! Desperate to kayak, I figured it was better than not kayaking.
The banks of our dugout are steep and muddy, with no shore or dock. Once in the water, one drops straight down. I couldn't quite figure out how I was going to maneuver myself into the water. The mud surrounding the dugout was so squishy that I thought I would sink and never find a way out. There I'd be, stuck forever, starving to death, literally becoming one with nature. I could picture the headline, "Lunatic woman desperate to kayak decays to death in dugout." Creeping slowly through the mud quickly became a non-option.
My husband had an idea. I was to climb into the kayak at the top of the bank, he would hold the kayak's carrying handle and then push me down into the water. I thought he was the crazy one now, but I could not see any other way in. I reluctantly agreed. There I was teetering on the top of the bank, sweating of fear and hanging on for dear life. I questioned my husband and he responded, "Trust me," then let go of the handle and I was off and s
n ... into...
the deep dark depths of our dugout!
On the way down, I am sure I screamed like I was on a roller coaster. I think I momentarily blacked out from worry. The hull submerged into the water and I thought I was a goner. Within a split second, however, the hull resurfaced and I was off and floating and paddling and laughing in relief. I am alive and dry!
How I was going to get out never crossed my mind at the time...
My husband made sure I was all right and then went off to do his business around the acreage. I couldn't believe I was actually in my dugout and kayaking all by myself. What a different world from that perspective! Little fishes were jumping constantly. One would jump out of the water,then five others would join in. The water was so still, that every little movement had an impact on the water.
I counted 40 dragonflies at one time hovering over the water.
To my surprise, I spotted about five different Northern Leopard Frogs. They are a threatened species in Alberta, but they seemed to be thriving.
They invited me to play with them in a game of Hide and Seek and Still Waters.
They sure can float and sit for long periods of time, which gave me time to interrupt the games and take photos with my phone and also to visual journal.
|Mud and Frog|
Can you find the frog below?
It only took about four or five strokes to go from one end of the dugout to the other, but I did manage to get some good kayaking in. I even challenged myself to race with the blue dragonflies by paddling backwards. What fun, what freedom...tears filled my eyes with happiness!
I was in the dugout for two and a half hours. My husband wondered if I was still in the dugout and came to check on me. There I still was floating and journaling, the sweat rolling down my back, my cheeks rosy from the reflection of the sunlight off of the cool water. The water is full of wonder...snails, water striders, beetles, leaves, algae... I am at peace when I near the water, on the water, in the water, listening to the water,watching the water, thinking about the water.
<The algae in the photo isn't actually slimy, despite its bubbly appearance. It is sort of feels like a net for onions.>
The farrier came and left, the summer students came and left, and my husband had just returned from running an errand in the city. But for me time stood still. When he asked if I was ready to come out, I asked for him to come back in twenty minutes so I could draw some more and he agreed.
It is nearly a month since that day, but the memories are vivid. Today I finally finished my visual journal entry, which brought all of the memories back.
Are you wondering how I managed to get out of the dugout? Well, it wasn't graceful at all. Upon my husband's return, I still had no clue how to get back to land. We tried the reverse of the way I came in at the same spot, but I freaked out and protested that there has to be a better way than pulling me out of the water at a 70 degree angle. No way!
My son was summoned to assist us, and I found a less steep spot where I could paddle as close to the bank as possible, only needing a little lift. With my husband and son stabilizing the kayak, I could get out on my own, walk up the grassy, muddy bank and return to land and still have some dignity!
I hope you are having some fun summer adventures too! I positively was able to play with the froggies. How about you?