Today I awake with anticipation of having some fun. I am going to rent a kayak on Shaver Lake. I open the bedroom curtains to a comical scene that causes me to giggle: the neighbor is trying (to no avail) to tame his new puppy’s playful liveliness. As I make breakfast, I feel the influence of fire, dancing around the kitchen to an old Marvin Gaye CD inherited from the previous cabin owners.
Before long, I am zipping along the mountain road in my BMW, enjoying its quick handling and the excitement of hugging the curves in such a responsive vehicle. “Hello. I love you.” by the Doors comes on the radio, fitting for the energy of the day.
Boating reminds me of past joyful experiences, being on the water in a variety of vessels. As a kid, I loved rowing solo around Balboa Bay, checking out the fancy yachts docked in front of fancy houses. Fast forward to a moment of laughter and passion when my boyfriend (now my husband) and I capsized our canoe on Whiskeytown Lake the same week we confided that we loved each other. Another special night is when our family rented kayaks during a full moon. The evening was so mystical, quiet, and beautiful, we mostly paddled in silence to soak in the light.
I also recall another time we took the kids out on kayaks on Shaver – me with our son and my husband with our daughter. We paddled a long ways, and then realized it was time to head back to meet our rental return deadline. The other pair wanted to race, and they moved out ahead of us. Aaron and I just wanted to have fun, so we sang old-time camp songs with each steady stroke, just enjoying being together. When we did not arrive at the dock in quick fashion, my husband suspected that something was wrong. Soon he and our daughter were on a rescue mission to save us, approaching on a motor boat piloted by a marina worker. Aaron and I thought that was very funny, but I don’t recall the others laughing much.
It’s almost noon now, the peak of the day, and the dock worker directs me to a red kayak (the appropriate color for fun, energy, excitement). As I paddle along the shore, I am grateful in this moment for the extended California drought because it has created a whole new world that was previously hidden under the lake surface. I pretend that I am in some exotic foreign land visiting undiscovered coves and inlets. I am struck by the contrast between the very shallow water to my left and the deep drop-off to my right. What is that dark shadow lurking just beneath the surface? Is it a killer whale or some prehistoric sea creature? Then I act out the same fantasy I played with my grandson here two months ago… running the rapids, shooting between two huge boulders, surviving only by my sharp, swift skills. Still in character, I beach the boat, swim out to stand on a rock, and search the horizon for a long lost love, who soon appears to me as a graceful black bird flying overhead. I salute the sun, and return to the kayak. Two hours has passed in a flash.
Back at the cabin, I try out the new flower power shower, an outdoor shower in the shape of a big brightly colored blossom. Its cool water is exhilarating… much like the day has been.