Thursday, July 19, 2007

Daddy's birthday

Ah, my Daddy. It’s his birthday today. He amazes me. He’s been retired now over 20 years. I remember him wondering what he would do with himself when he retired. And now he fills every day. Golf games. Coaching or cheering on grandkids at any of their sports/games. Driving across Toronto to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. Swimming. Working out. Doing stretches. Getting massages from Fred. Walking Poco the dog. Giving business advice. Getting investment advice. Reading the paper. Watching stocks online. Trading e-mails with his golf cronies. Advising on the pro shop or course redesign. Resolving conflict. Husking corn. Lots of corn. He loves the stuff. He loves life. And he seems to love who he is. Not in that puffed up or smoothed on kind of way. Just a soft groundedness. A gentle humility. A fiery spirit. And comical gestures. He’s so Zen. More into the present than anyone I know. He lets trouble roll off him. Stuff that before might have irked him or pushed down his spirit, just slides right off. He seems fulfilled. Happy. He looks like he’s in his 60’s and still grins like a 3 year old. His hugs are just as warm and powerful as they were when I was 5. I have so much to be grateful for that starts with him. Happy Birthday Daddy. I miss you. I wish we weren't separated by 2 provinces.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Great friend

after my near-death experience on the Elbow River, I called my friend best paddling pal, Susanne, and left her a voice mail at work. I think it was midnight when I left the message. Susanne called first thing the next morning. She asked questions. She was shocked. She empathized. And then she said the magic words, “I hope that this won’t keep you from doing what you love to do? Paddling is when you are most alive.” She continued, “When you, Jane, Ash and I paddle, we don’t take chances. We’re very safe.” What a brilliant thing to share! She totally understood me, what was essential to me--right then and for my future. Her words anchored me in the joy I feel on the water. If she hadn’t said that when she did, I might never have paddled again. I needed what Susanne said more than any of the sympathetic words I got from anyone else. Making sure that you have people in your life who “get” you, who understand your essence is crucial. They are champions of your spirit. They urge your spirit to overcome the body’s fear, and do what brings you most life. As we paddle through life, we need to choose our paddling partners carefully. More on this in the next entry.

Monday, July 16, 2007

River Gods Called my Name

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 my life was saved by a brave and selfless man, Kevin Zeh. I was kayaking unknown whitewater, and ended up swimming after banging into some overhanging rock. Then I became pinned at chest height between a submerged log and my water-filled boat. Good news was my head was above water.

Bad news: i couldn't breathe. (Think of a refrigerator on your chest). I tried squirming out, prying, being skinnier, but no escape. Neither I nor the boat would budge.

Kevin, who was a stranger to me until that day, managed to get up river to me and repeatedly tried to pull the boat off. It wouldn’t move! There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to die. I heard river gods called my name--seemed so...soon. I was too young! “At least I’ve lived a good life.” I thought. “A full life.”

Kevin almost slipped and fell into the flow as he tried to better his footing to gain more leverage with the boat. I thought, “He’s going to feel guilty his whole life for not being able to save me!” I felt terrible about this truth. There was nothing I could do.

Seconds from losing consciousness, an option I hadn’t tried appeared to me. I rolled forward over the log, trying to shift my position in any tiny way -- it might help. Maybe the small angle change in the boat would allow the water would lift under the edge of the boat?

At the same time, Kevin had his own idea. He seemed to jump off the rock island and throw the full force of his body onto my boat. The kayak somersaulted free. Kevin and I floated down the river.

July 11 is Kevin Zeh Day.

More at:
Calgary Herald, or the Calgary Sun.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


It's been a while since I've written. sooo sorry but I was having too much fun paddling with gal pals, playing in waves, and meeting incredible people to sit and write.

I've been pondering connections, omens, and what I want out of life. Some answers where there were holes is the good news, and some holes where there were answers is the bad news--or at least a rising wave that I might need to surf some day.

Highlight of highlights: meeting author and speaker Jim Hayhurst on his back deck overlooking Georgian Bay. So terrific to see someone living life as he does--a Maverick and a Wagon Master. I couldn't have learned more if Yoda himself were there. If this sounds a bit obscure, good. We all need mystery and magic in our lives. If you don't have enough, I recommend buying The Right Mountain, written by J. Hayhurst.

Other highlights, not making the same mistake for the 20th time. I almost went there, but turned back before all the buffalo jumped off the cliff. Seems that you can reroute a stampede to safer ground. But the cliffs are always soooo interesting...

Thanks to my mother for weighing in with an opinion. Just in Time.