As I got older, my Happy Place changed. There was that certain corner in the hay loft, that certain branch in the catalpa tree, that certain cedar that hung out over the gulley in the back section of the farm. The Happy Place can be anywhere one finds it - when I was young it was often on the back of my horse - now it's on the lake in my kayak.
Thirteen feet eight inches of green plastic; wide in the middle and pointed at each end. A seven foot aluminum shaft with oddly shaped plastic bits at both ends. Doesn't sound like much, does it? But oh the places we go!
Sometimes we're out on the Bay, calmer, more protected, much more shallow - yet if the wind picks up still a challenge. It's invigorating to paddle straight out, slicing into each wave, the bow slapping down in the trough, spray flying, a ferocious grin on my face. Or it's a quiet day, and I paddle lazily, letting the tide take me where it will as I lose myself in watching the drops fall from the end of my paddle and shatter into brilliant reflections.
Sometimes we get to the edge of the water, and God says "not today".
Sometimes we go out when the mist has come in, and all is shrouded in white mystery. The sun becomes shy and peeks out every so often to see if we're still there. Everything is perfectly calm and sounds carry for miles, each stroke of the paddle sending watery echoes to the shore. The reflection of the house behind us somehow lays out in front of us and we're paddling over the image of the back door - which is on the opposite side of the house! After experiencing that, I wasn't quite sure we were going to make it back to the same reality we had left just an hour before.
Sometimes we'll load the kayaks on the trailer and head out for adventures up north.
We've had some adventures, my kayak and I. The green is beginning to look a bit faded; there are bumps and bruises and many, many scratches; the paddle is battered and scraped, all of it mute testimony to hours of fun. And each time I haul my boat out I am again so thankful to my Mom for introducing me to kayaking, and buying my boat for me. Thanks Mom! Many times she and my daughter are along for these wonderful adventures, which makes my Happy Place even happier.
And we keep looking for converts! Friends that visit are often dragged out to the water with nothing more than a 'try this you'll like it', and after paddling around for a bit, most whole-heartedly agree. It's so much fun to see someone else get bit by the paddling bug, and I always hope that I've helped them find a Happy Place.