Last night I posted this ad on Craigslist. I am selling my kayak (and paddle, helmet, skirt, float bags and gloves) because kayaking is no longer a part of my life.
Kayaking days on the river seem like they were a lifetime ago. My friends (from this other lifetime) and I worked hard during the days. We lifeguarded, taught swim lessons, led raft trips, scrubbed life jackets, loaded and unloaded canoes, flipped burgers and whatever else was asked of college kids in a resort setting.
Evenings were filled with kayaking, pizza, fishing, beer, campfires, kissing, volleyball games, moonlight raft trips, hot tubs, outdoor concerts and other shenanigans. In those days we were all carefree, sunburned, poor and seemingly never tired.
My biggest worry was showing up for work on time. I don’t even think I had acquired a car payment yet.
For the last several years, my kayak has been stored in our backyard with just a tip peeking out from under the protective tarp. When we are playing outside it taunts me. “Remember the river.” And then it invites me, “Take me to the river.” And then I get that song stuck in my head all day.
Playing in the rapids is a rush. It was never me versus the river. It was about being with the river. Water is free, flowing, cool and powerful. How a river never runs out of water is awe inspiring and mystifying. I always loved visiting a new section of a river and scouting the rocks, the rapids, the curls and waves. Some to avoid and some to play on. Even on a familiar river, the water level changed every day and created new challenges.
But now, the challenges in my life are different. They are those that come from raising three young children, fostering a happy marriage, keeping house and trying to figure out what is for dinner every night. And while life is certainly different now, I look forward to these new challenges each morning I’m awoken by someone little writing on my arm with a Sharpie. At least it wasn’t the wall.
On Saturday, we took the kayak and the kids to the Cache la Poudre River for the day. We dug in the sand, threw rocks, cleaned out the kayak, gave each kid a ride in a shallow eddy and I took it out for a last spin. I played in a few little rapids, surfed a bit and reminisced.
Selling this kayak is bittersweet. But it is time. Someone else will now have great adventures with it.
And if I’m really honest with myself, it just doesn’t look right on top of the minivan. Is it more of a fashion faux pas for a kayak to wear a minivan or a minivan to wear a kayak? Definitely a mixed message between lifetimes.