Riding the Storm

I needed to take a break from the books and get back into the wilderness, surround myself with nature, and lose myself for a while. Lucky for me, my Mom is always ready and willing to head out into the wild, so last week we loaded our kayaks into the back of the truck and headed for a remote lake.

There were a few obstacles which stood in our way, one being that access to this lake was on bush roads: active logging roads which rely on two-way radios for traffic control. While this lake does have a public access campsite and it is not mandatory to carry a two-way radio to access it, it is still recommended, as meeting a logging truck on a narrow dirt road can be dangerous, especially when they don’t know you are coming. We decided to push on regardless, knowing full well that we may have to hit the ditch, but at least they were not large ditches.

When we arrived at the lake we looked down toward the other end to see that the mountains were all but lost in the dark clouds that loomed. Unwilling to turn around, we decided to launch the boats and head toward the storm, knowing the day may be cut short if it blew our way. Pulling the kayaks from the truck we loaded our gear and carried them to the water’s edge, dodging little frogs which hopped frantically away at each footstep.

I got into my kayak, securing the spray skirt to protect me from any waves that may break over the bow, and pushed off shore, the feeling of weightlessness overcoming me; I felt peace spread through me as soon as the kayak lifted from the bottom of the lake. We paddled leisurely down the lake, toward the black sky, the sun beaming down on us. The clouds seemed to be keeping pace with us, the blue sky followed us down the lake keeping us basked in sun, while the clouds swirled on either side.

The water level here is higher than it was at this time a couple years ago. Yet, all the other lakes and streams seem to be drying up and desperate for some moisture. We found a small gravel beach to have lunch on, but, as we sat and enjoyed our sandwich and tea, we noticed that the waves were growing and the wind was beginning to pick up. We had only just arrived but already it was time to go.

We launched into the heart of the storm and headed back to the safety of the truck only five kilometers away. The wind whipped the lake, swirling the water, testing our balance and skill. We rode the waves and fought our way through, enjoying every moment of the rollercoaster.

By the time we got back to the bay where the truck was parked the wind had eased, the lake had calmed, and once again the sun broke through. We heard thunder rolling in the distance and could see clouds moving in, but, for now, it was calm.

I thought of my studies: how I had been through a stormy patch, where I had to fight for each unit, assignment, and word. I thought that if I had become stressed out when the storm blew in while we were kayaking on the lake, if I had gotten worried and scared, it would have made the journey back much more difficult. Instead, I enjoyed the ride, I took the opportunity to further test what my boat can handle and took great pleasure in the spray of the waves, the feel of a wave breaking over the side of the boat and submerging my arm. Perhaps, if I were to translate that attitude to my studies, the hard times wouldn’t seem so bad. Rather, they would be an opportunity to test my resolve, to see that no obstacle is too great to overcome as long as I have enough will to get there, that getting there with the right attitude will make the journey that much more enjoyable.

Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature