Wednesday, October 06, 2010

That heightened sense of anticipation at the launch, the trailhead, and...?

Today was a perfect day for some early October paddling on the Salish Sea. As we carried our kayaks down to the launch site at Descanso Regional Park, on magical and mystical Gabriola Island, I got that familiar "swirley" feeling deep inside. It's a good feeling. It's a sense of excitement, a sense that an adventure is about to begin. It's the same feeling as whenever we were driving from Calgary to Alberta's Kananaskis Country, for a day of cross-country skiing - on magnificent mountain backcountry trails! I get that heightened sense of anticipation whenever our son is coming for a visit or whenever we are heading out to visit him. It's a very positive, and exciting sense of expectation. It can, in fact, be quite exhilarating.

Although a very different context, it's the same thing when high contralto, Thomas Otten, sings George Frideric Handel's "Ombra mai fu" - a piece of music that causes my eyes to mist every time. Strangely, Handel's "Water Music" had the same effect on my father. Music can take us on a journey...and it can be deeply moving. Therein, perhaps, lies the context of adventure.

Come to think of it, it's the same when we're going to have homemade spaetzle! Spaetzle, tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, milk, and nutmeg, is a delicious dish we discovered when we lived in Germany. (Joan makes an almost vegan version and it's always the main course!) It tastes fabulous but maybe it also brings back so many good memories from our time and travels in Europe. 

This feeling deep inside is always in the context of something that gives deep pleasure and for which it is easy to be thankful. I don't take for granted that we are fortunate enough to own a couple of kayaks, a couple of pairs of skis, and feet that love to feel the ground. We are fortunate to be able to run through the forest and paddle on the local waters - something I never take for granted. The ability to do either could change in a moment of time. And even having the luxury of making a simple dish of spaetzle is not something most in our world have.

In our part of the world, so much is taken for often. And maybe we miss out on a lot?

I wonder why more folks don't, at least occasionally, sit by the seaside, listening to the waves rush up on the beach. Or go out for a walk in the woods, amidst the falling leaves. I wonder why few seem to ever speak of the mountains that surround us, or of the joy of gazing into the incomprehensibly deep star-lit heavens on a clear Island night, such as tonight. Perhaps I have simply missed out on those conversations. It seems important to desire to watch the sun rising or to stand spellbound amidst the plethora of life in the intertidal zone, which where we live, is at our doorstep? How about walking in the rain on a windy night or entering into the deep woods in search of nature's fruits, berries, and assorted treats? Why a reluctance to rush out to feel the winter snowflakes, which (very occasionally here) fall gently from the sky? Why aren't country roads full of walkers, individuals and families, on a Sunday afternoon, enjoying a "volksmarch" as they do in Germany? All of these things can offer a heightened sense of anticipation and invite an experience of the "swirleys". And it is easy to be grateful for every such occasion.

Having that heightened sense of anticipation is a good thing. It brings, indeed, a heightened sense of appreciation for life itself.

It was a good day for paddling, and into the evening, the afterglow of the "swirleys" remained.

Always in search of that feeling,



  1. Wow Looks like it was an awesome day on the water!
    I shall pay attention and wait for those "swirly" feelings.

  2. Ah, bless you, L. As soon as I posted this one, I thought, "Swirleys? Oh man.". Folks are gonna think we put too much chia in the water bottle! ;-)!

  3. Yup
    but glad you said it and not me! haha

  4. Volksmarch is such a great concept. My wife took aprt in them as a kid there in Lahr. There are some pin's here somewhere IIRC.

    I agree we don't hear many people talk about the beaches or the clouds either. Disconnection I guess.