"Humility is attentive patience."
|Paddling up to a place of wisdom...and perspective.|
This particular large rock may have tumbled from a higher elevation, perhaps up on Mount Tzouhalem, when our part of Vancouver Island was shaken by a significant earthquake some centuries ago. It may also have been deposited here by receding ice sheets, thousands of years ago. How marvellous it would be if it could tell its story. That would definitely "rock".
Sitting in a tiny self-propelled craft, next to Paddy's Milestone, is humbling. It's easy to feel "small". Certainly, the delicately chiseled geometry of my narrow, British-style kayak, must surely appear fragile to larger vessels on the shared waters...and yet, she is so strong, so brave, so capable. Its human propulsive "engine" (me) must appear equally fragile. I am, and admittedly, I am not as strong or as brave or as capable as I would like to be. Thus, in all humility, I am a work in progress...happy to be so and open to the possibility of growing and developing and learning. Humility, as Simone Weil describes as "attentive patience", opens doors to personal development - and, in a kayak, an expanded skill set. On the other hand, bravado and hubris in a sea kayak can result in desperate situations. Doors close - and in the unforgiving marine environment, sometimes they close forever.
The other day, on a narrow, busy and twisting highway, filled with wide-eyed tourists enjoying the Island scenery, we "inherited" two large and powerful motorcycles that took up their position just a few metres off the rear bumper. Beneath the barely-there (and barely-useful?) peanut shell helmets and dark glasses, a "grim" demeanor that was clearly visible in the rear view mirror, communicated impatience and disdain for the long line of traffic. (Interestingly, we were all travelling at the posted speed limit.) The high performance engines revved regularly with the predictable high decibel "angry" sound. Ahh, I thought, these two individuals are working very hard to reflect "attitude" - no "attentive patience" present here.
I thought of my son, who with his comrades, spent interminable months working out of a Forward Operating Base in the remote mountains of Afghanistan in the difficult rotation of 2006. Sadly, a significant number did not return home. Did these guys, straddling their expensive rides, and working hard to project "image" have any idea how transparent it all was? Could they possibly understand what I was thinking? I don't think they would have coped in the "heat" of the Panjwaii for very long. But I tried to be understanding. I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone. Eventually they passed us, on a double line, striking a look of consternation on the driver of the oncoming vehicle who was forced to swerve into the shoulder. It was a situation where bravado and hubris could have changed lives forever.
|Yearning to hear "Paddy's" stories.|
Attentive patience in a sea kayak makes for skills improved, the experience fully appreciated, and all in all, a very good day on the water.
Simone Weil, 1909 - 1943, was a French philosopher and social activist.