Monday, July 9, 2012

Grateful for the Journey

I have always wanted to kayak on the Susquehanna and my cool brother John agreed to accompany Asherel and me on the river yesterday. He had to haul his huge 70 pound canoe to the river, while all I had to carry was my 17 pound inflatable kayak. He had to strap that behemoth to the top of his jeep, sweating bullets in the sun as he manhandled it into place. I just tossed my suitcase sized deflated kayak in the back of the van. Then he had to huff and puff, straining to carry the 70 pound generator which attached to the 30 pound motor that he put on the canoe. I just snapped together a one pound oar and was in the water waiting for him. But then the tables turned.

Massive head winds sprang up and I had to fight for every inch I could eek out as we headed upriver. The light kayak was blown about like a tumbleweed. He and Asherel just tooled along in the heavy canoe, motor humming, John sipping beer and occasionally looking back to see how far behind I was.

Nonetheless, it was glorious. The Susquehanna is beautiful and rivers always make me feel at peace and in harmony with God's world. We docked on Hiawatha Island. John fly-fished, I explored the shallows for crayfish, and Asherel took off to explore the island. I made her take her phone, just in case, but really, felt little concern for what could be on the deserted island in the middle of the Susquehanna. Soon I received a text message from her, "There's education here! Come see!"

So John and I headed in our canoes upshore a little more and saw steps carved into the bank. We secured our canoe and kayak and headed up the steps. Asherel met us on a path and then led us to a clearing where there was a wooden out-house
(whew- needed that!) and an old building. Rusted farm tools, an old tractor, and a very old gutted car were scattered on the grounds. The foundation of another old house was in the distance. There was a plaque that told us these tools and home were from 1920. What fun! There WAS education here!

Later, after struggling back to the car, having kayaked three hours, I googled "Hiawatha Island". It used to have a hotel on it, and was a popular tourist spot! It is the largest island on the Susquehanna. John told me it used to be a tobacco farm, long ago. It is now home to several endangered species. It had been really exciting to be the only humans on the island, chancing upon that old civilization.

John popped open a water bottle as we motored the last mile back down the river.
"Out of beer?" I called.
As we neared our take-out point, there were my mom and dad, up on the cliff along the river edge. Dad was snapping photos with his new camera. Mom was sitting in the new red white and blue lawn chair she had recently told Dad they simply had no use for. I was touched that they had found our take out point and timed their arrival to greet us as we motored back to shore. (Well , John motored....I groaned and strained and made it back with my muscles dripping off my arms like goo.)

John huffed and puffed to haul his enormous, heavy canoe out of the water. The three of us managed to slam it back on top of his jeep, and he was sweating bullets by the time he had tied it down securely. I opened the valves, deflated my kayak, and carried the light little bundle to the back of my van, and tossed it in. We found out Mom and Dad had been there waiting for us one and a half hours. All of us headed home exhausted, all for varying reasons. Some of us were tired from preparing for the journey, some from traveling the journey, and some for waiting a long time at the journey's end. But I think every one of us was grateful for the journey.

Deuteronomy 2:7 (NIV)
The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

-save a dog-

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