Sunday, May 27, 2012

Against the Current

The Catawba River was high and fast yesterday. I talked with the owner of the kayak rental just upriver from where I put my kayak in. He knows me, which always makes me feel safer when I am one of the few folks out on the water. I always let him know when I am going out on the water. I think he would notice my car at the end of the day, and would head out in his boat to scout my whereabouts if I were not back. Memorial weekend however, the water was full of kayakers. And as I stood talking with him, we watched many inexperienced kayaks head downstream at an exhilarating speed.
"They are not going to enjoy coming back," I noticed.
"I keep telling them that," said Ken, "I keep saying, at the end of the dock, turn left(upriver), but they all keep turning right."
We watched as one tipped over turning against the current. I have never even come close to turning over in my kayak.
"Well, I will turn left...but I may not go very far. I am not sure my inflatable kayak can go in this current."
"You will be fine," he said, "They have kept the dam open all day. It's been like this all day. But if you go left, along that shore there are several heron nests, and babies in them."
Another good reason to go left!
I headed off in my kayak, and straight across the racing river to the heron shore. It was hard work going against the current, and I was glad I had kayaked on quiet lakes a few times already this year to strengthen my arms. I marveled again with praise and delight that kayaking does not hurt my ulnar nerve injury. It was slow going against the current, but I wasn't in it for distance. The peace and beauty of the river remained the same, no matter how strong the current. And as I reached the other shore, I looked up. There was a mama heron in her nest, and I saw the little sharp beak of the baby heron poke up at her and then he flapped his little wings. I had never seen a baby heron before. I had to keep paddling to stay in place in that raging current. Many kayakers passed me as I sat gazing up at the birds. None of them looked up. They were all sweating, fighting the current. In the midst of all that work, none of them looked up to see the baby heron.
That's how it is sometimes. We work and sweat and struggle through life, and we don't look up. We forget there is the possibility of new life, new hope, new wonders nestled against Heaven. We become so overwhelmed by the current, that we lose focus on the miracles that line our shores.
After 50 minutes of beating against the current in the over 90 degree heat, I was exhausted. I turned downstream. It took me 5 minutes to smoke down river and skid back to my parking spot. I shook my tired arms as I pulled the kayak up on shore and glanced back at the heron nest. It was hidden in the trees, and from my safe, quiet spot on the opposite shore, I could no longer see it.

Psalm 59:16-17
But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.

-save a dog-

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