Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Transition Back

(Is it really goodbye?)

The day after we arrived home, I had no clue what I was going to be doing. Instead of wiggling into damp cold paddling gear and pushing my kayak off the beach, I rolled out of a bed and headed for the continental breakfast. I watched the sun climb out of the lake and make its way up a cloudless blue sky from behind the glass of the hotel lobby window. As I ate a banana I had one thought in my head: This was going to be a different kind of day.

The fact is the day was already different. To get to my banana I had to crawl over an assortment of empty beer bottles and people that littered the hotel room floor. Empty pizza boxes held only crumbs and the bones of chicken wings were strewn about the coffee table and bathroom. I was, for a lack of a better term, back in civilization.

The sun rose. The wind blew. The water on the lake was spectacular.

The day we arrived home at about one in the afternoon a flotilla of kayaks paddled under the iconic Duluth Lift Bridge. Some of our kayaking friends joined us for the last few miles of the tour. Already excited and in a state of dream like wonder their presence whipped up the energy of the last couple of miles into a fever pitch. Dale, owner of Lake Superior Brewing Company and craftsman brought his sexy hand made 20 foot Chesapeake Bay kayak and two cases of Kayak Kolsh to the celebration. Luke and I took the time to reflect over a kayak kolsh, that we have some amazing friends and family.

We put in the final paddle strokes of our journey and beached our boats on the sandy beach. Over 1,200 miles had slid underneath us. 1,200 miles of sun, rain, wind and waves. Our paddling adventure ended when Luke and I got out of our kayaks and into the warm embraces of family and friends.

The night progressed as nights do with seeing old friends and drinking beer.

To be done, to have a goal achieved--a dream realized is a difficult feeling to explain. There's a tingly part. A warm part with shivers. A wonderful pressure in the chest that feels like both exploding and imploding at the same time. A scary part.

The scary part for me is that the last one hundred days were filled with a mission. A purpose. What the hell do I do now? What's next? I am confident that the next step will present itself. All in due time, I tell myself as I toss the banana peel into the trash.

Other hungry guests are beginning to gather in the lobby and make their breakfasts. I decide it is getting too crowded and I ready myself to leave. One last look at the lake gives me the impression that the lake and I feel the same way. Not quite able to say goodbye and move on, but ready to. The light dances on the surface of low slow waves and I smile with the entirety of my being--proud of what we have accomplished, and I feel at peace.

Thanks for being part of this journey.

1 comment:

  1. You have a lot to be proud of. Paddling along the shoreline of the biggest freshwater lake and doing it safely is a huge achievement. It is also in how you did it. You paddled allowing yourself to be open and to enjoy the journey. A journey like this can only happen once, no other trip, even going around the lake again will be like this one. You made the best of it.


    Sam Crowley
    Marquette, MI