After our morning of visiting an old iron ore mine (the “Cadillac of mines” in its day) and an underground physical lab south of Ely, and an afternoon wandering at a crafts fair, Dave wanted a rest (which I suspect had more to do with the length of yesterday’s hike than today’s adventures). So I decided to take advantage of the fact that our B&B supplies kayaks and canoes for its guests and go kayaking for an hour or so before dinner.
There are many communal aspects of my Catholic/Christian faith, but nature is not one of them. When I’m out hiking, I don’t really want to see anyone else on the trail. Indeed, I usually walk at least 50-100 years ahead of my husband on the path…only checking now and then to be sure I haven’t lost him completely. I want to hear the movement of the leaves on the trees, the sounds of the birds, the crunch of the leaves and twigs beneath my feet and I want to just be alone with God.
My kayaking this afternoon was perfect given that desire. Despite the fact that I didn’t go too far out from where I got into the water (I realized only after starting to paddle that I had forgotten a life vest and I’m an incredibly poor swimmer, so I decided caution was in order), there was no one to disturb my peace. No one standing on the shore. No one nearby in the water. (I spied another boat off in the distance, but it never came anywhere near where I was.) No one anywhere.
I paddled at times and at other times just let the kayak drift. The sky was blue, the clouds arrayed like paintings in the sky, the water lapped gently against the kayak. All was silent, except for the occasional sound of a bird. Although I did disturb the silence at one point to phone a friend (just because I thought it was cool to say “hi” from a kayak in the middle of a lake) for the most part it was just me and God enjoying the serenity of the place. Just being together in the peaceful tranquility of the water.
In moments like that, gratitude arises spontaneously in my heart. Sometimes, I’d look and exclaim, “God, this is so wonderful.” At other times, I’d simply say, “Thank you.” And several times, I felt myself express the most basic reaction: “I love you, Lord.”
Do yourself a favor. If you haven’t done so in a while, go kayaking with God…or take a hike with God. Just go off somewhere, you and God, and enjoy the water…the sky…the trees…the birds. Enjoy all that God has gifted us with in this world in which we live. You’ll be happy you did.