On the Water Again

Freckled legs, thrift-shop crocs and my new ride.

I arrived at the beach just after 9:30 AM, determined to get out on the water before the holiday weekend boaters took over. Ten minutes after leaving the house, I pulled into a spot close to the boat launch — rolled my kayak down off the car, slung it over my shoulder by the seat strap and teetered down to the water. High tide was around 7 so the water was still close enough that I didn’t have to navigate too many slippery rocks. Wading into the water with my boat beside me, I slid aboard, scooted against the back rest and began paddling towards the Norwalk islands, grinning.

Twenty minutes from my door: heaven.

It’s been 2 summers since I’ve been out paddling and I refused to make this a 3rd. Fairly priced kayaks are the first thing to go at tag sales and last year, I never scored one. It didn’t help that I wanted something very specific. I am not a confident water person and had gotten used to the impossible-to-tip-over ocean kayak I’d paddled with my ex. Last year I searched tag sales, Craig’s List and asked friends – to no avail. This year, riding the wave of excitement and satisfaction and yes, financial freedom of Molly being done with college, I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods. For just over $300 for kayak, oar, jacket and straps to tie the thing down on top of my Subaru. David, our salesperson, was a prince – guiding me towards the right boat, attaching foam to the rack on the top of my car and showing me how to attach it tight.

My present to myself for Molly’s graduation.

The first few times out, I loaded up with Molly who thoughtfully stood by trying not to help. I wanted to know I could wrestle the thing myself. Finally, she couldn’t bear to see me struggle and with a flip of an arm, threw the boat up on my car. While she’s around, I’ll welcome that help. But this morning, I did it myself from start to finish. I doubt it looked pretty, but damn it, I did it.

I swam here. Briefly. The water is cold.

And this is where I went. I floated, I paddled, I watched the birds, telling them how lovely they were. It’s cooler out there with a sweet breeze easing the heat of the sun. Pulling up to a spit of land that disappears at high tide, I pulled the kayak up and swam, marveling that this sweet beach was all mine. I wonder how I let 2 years pass without this dreamy experience so close to home!

A spit of beach that disappears and appears with the tides.

On my first solo venture out, I alternately felt thrilled and terrified. Nervous that no one was behind me navigating, paddling when I got tired. If I go under, it’s only me and my fierce whistle! But even as huge motorboats bore down on me, I smiled like a buddha. On my own, blissful with the birds skimming across the rolling waves, the odd splash of a fish and yes, the roaring motors of boats. In fact, once I think they see me and will probably not mow me down, I love rolling in the heaving wakes they leave. And I wave, imagining they must envy me – moving so sleekly along, quietly moving towards the egrets in the tall grass, so very happy in my solitude. I would.

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9 Responses to On the Water Again

  1. Wonderful. So good to hear your voice again. These are lovely pictures. I am reminded of our visits to Maine and how very conscious we became of high and low tide…You were courageous to go out by yourself! I have yet to trail ride by myself though I’d love to have the solitude with my horse…

  2. Wendy says:

    So glad you’re out exploring the beautiful Norwalk islands!

  3. I can see you have the hang of this. I’m still at the falling-out-of-it-whenever-I-try-to-get-out stage. Much to the amusement of my granddaughters and any stray children who might be witnesses.
    But I particularly like the fact that you bought yourself a graduation gift for Mollys education. Getting her through was a huge achievement for you and a kayak is the least you deserve.

  4. Diane says:

    Glorious! When you visit, we’ll kayak on the river. No swimming though. Icky water.

  5. Tricia says:

    You’ll have to come practice with me!

  6. Tricia says:

    Sounds like a date, Diane. x

  7. Lea Sylvestro says:

    You got one!!!!! Yayyyyyy!!!! I LOVE this piece and the peace this kayak is giving you! Oh, such bliss our there on the water on these beautiful days! Good for you in figuring out how to wrestle it onto the car! Love the picture of triumphant you next to kayak on car! XXXOOOO

  8. cynthia says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Yay for you!!!

  9. Tricia says:

    Thank you! I know you love the water too – just looking at that horizon – peace!

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