and that is when I first saw the bear…

Knees bent and back straight

I must confess..that it was not too long ago..that I was humping towards the the ninth hole and the fairways were dried up and acting like like concrete slabs at the world worse parking lot. I was just skating above par but the water had evaporated out of my bandana and I was busy day dreaming about the cold pitcher beer after the eighteen hole. I thought..”wouldn’t be nice just to step off the fairway and jump into the water..”.

I pared the 17th whole and feeling pretty full of my own inherent and genetic skill to strike the wee white ball, I launched an airborne assault on the 18th hole..a par three with a five wood. After many hours of frying my body in some sideways effect of global warming, I discovered that I was a little hesitant to step out into the noon day sun….even if I was somewhat a mad dog and English. Later, well at least two days, I some how forgot this note to my self when I decided to sit by the pool just for an hour or two prior to going to Deep Cove to paddle.

Now my truck, “Ataboy”, has a tape deck and it was my good fortune to discover a misplaced tape underneath the passenger seat. So rolling over through rush hour traffic,  I was singing along with Jimmy Buffet, rolling my “r’s and g’s” to  a well played tune with lyrics that go a little bit like this, ”I ain’t a drinking man …but temptation took the best of me..and so when the bear ambled up to me..I did not flip or fly..it hung em up..cuz..I was god’s own drunk…and a fearless man..”. After a less than peppy twenty minutes of manhandling  a pump and without to much trepidation, ol Clarity and I launched into another paddle out of Deep Cove.

Yes..the hangover was gone. I had stayed out of the sun and watched a few videos

golden rules of paddling

waves

paddle stroke

basic paddling

Though it was hot outside, I had been productive in my own abode. I had done a few rounds of laundry, cleaned house and even made the commode presentable. I had washed all my gear and I even had found a MEI jug so that now I had a source of water. Yes..I was a fearless man..and that is when I got hooked into the first set of waves. Well, to be honest, lets just say close sets of water tempting to lurch me ass over teacup. I rode out the first few sets. The next set, I grabbed the board on all fours and watched a few other paddlers follow my lead. By the turn around point, I was enthusiastically told..”heh..it will be easier..the tide is with us”. My thighs were much like the rest of the crew. Some of the girls had done a four hour workshop on Vancouver Bay the day before and they were tired..and that ol orb in the sky was just teasing us as to it’s intensity.

So returning home to the cove, I launched out into the waves and pretended I was a new buck kahuna in Hanalei Bay. “Cowabunga..mihalo bra!” Ya I know da kine…but the disaster voice was stomping up a fuss in my frontal lobe.  Down a wave and…”bend knees, straight back”. Another few strokes..faster this time…”bend knees, straight back”…paddle ..faster. Soon I had separated from the group..some one yelled “heh what are you doing out there..we do not smell that bad..”. I was trying to figure out how this tide could be messing up my sense of balance or was I not seeing eye to eye with my buddy..the bear.

Turning into the cove, I dodged the break water and started to look for some calm water. There was now only one voice muttering.. “bent knees and straight back”. Light headed and a bit sunburned, I swore I was seeing Sam Elliot in the Big lebowski giving his rundown on the whole show..Yes..the Dude abides but his thighs are on fire and light up like Vegas on the Forth of July. I had just a few seconds to wonder if my back was frozen, fried like an egg over easy or had I just given up on pondering spasming lower back muscles.

Mid harbour return and a returning rowing dingy comes along my port side. The driver  has a broken throttle cable, so I tease my self with mind bending illusions and paddle out of it’s wake. Who really needs gas fumes up your nose? I dig in and end up going up over the dingy’s wake and whoops..down a wave. Ok..it was not big daddy material but Clarity moved along like a goose releasing a crap load of barley. Surfing..no..I was just trying to keep stable and saying my mantra..”knees bent, straight back”.

Later, as the sun was setting and two planets aligned to put on the pre evening show prior to moon coming up on a cool clear evening, I sat on the tailgate of my truck and stared at the ground. My skin, now getting brown, had a slight hue of red. I should have stayed out of the sun but heh….what was I to do? I was getting caught up in reading about MRI’s and the size of a canines olfactory receptors. I had just patted a Rodesian ridge back and smiled at a passing family who gave me this odd worried stare, Perhaps they were wondering what beast I had tangled with. I smiled and said..”some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you”.

Yup..pert near wore me out. Shucks Sam..I can hear you..yarning about westward the wagons and the dusty trails and I am just happy to have made it ashore and packed up “Clarity”.

Yet the bug is under the skin..which is now tanning nicely… and the lure for more adventures does call. Tomorrow at six am, I am off to do a Canada Day dawn paddle..no sun there. Then I am going to see what a moon paddle is like the next day. Paddlefest is on my birthday, though I am not sure I can string along a deal out of that one.

So when those waves hit..which they will..keep your golden rules in mind and act upon them….bent knees and back straight…To hell with the pain..there is sore nor more for that. While a calm paddle on the slough may do to build up your stamina, some times it is up to you to see what you can bear. Nope, your are not living unless you test your self.

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