It has been a full week…a busy, productive, full week. …a tiring week. In the midst of the meaningful busy-ness, I had to say ‘no’ to an invitation to kayak at Murrell’s Inlet, an invitation to hike on Mt. Mitchell, and an invitation to kayak the Catawba River under the midnight moon. But that’s part of balance, and right now, things are feeling pretty good.
Here are some of the group after lunch. This was actually our second choice for a lunch location. The first was a sandbar a few hundred yards from here up a side creek (Rocky Creek). The sandbar was big enough for our entire fleet to land and spread out comfortably. Many of us were out of our boats, walking around, stretching, when suddenly the sandbar started disappearing. The water was rising…fast! So we got back in our kayaks — and one canoe — and went looking for a higher place to have lunch. In just a few minutes the sandbar was completely under water.
A small hydro-electric power plant was close by, in view from this grassy point, actually. It had been releasing water, and the surge made its way up the creek to change our lunch plans. Later, we watched the water recede from the shoreline just as quickly as it had risen before.
Stumpy Pond is the local name for the Cedar Creek Reservoir, one of many impounded sections of the Catawba River. It is located southeast of the town of Great Falls, SC, where Chester, Lancaster, and Fairfield Counties meet.
When I arrived late at the boat landing, this is what I saw: an armada of kayaks preparing to strike fear in the hearts of — well, nobody really…but still it was impressive. In this photo are 25 boats, and mine was still on the truck, so that’s at least 26.
I had been following the activities of Palmetto Paddlers on their website (find it in the blogroll below) but had not been able to participate yet. Today they were close to home, and I made it. For someone who mostly kayaks solo, this group was HUGE. I met a lot of friendly people and look forward to joining them again soon on the water and becoming a member.
There were six responses to the invitation to submit captions to this photo. The winner will receive a lovely mug featuring the July 9, 2007 installment of the comic strip “Get Fuzzy!” Thanks for all the funny responses. Here they are:
“Hey, wait a minute! Are you taking the LAST piece of cake?”
[by Kimberlee, Alaska]
“Jill wait I will come help you with the Gaint Green Turtle Salad!!!”
[by acphil413, Oregon]
Jill: “Hey Karen, did you hear that Steve put our picture on his blog?”
Karen: “No! Let’s go see it!”
[by Victor, South Carolina]
“Run Jill! Steve’s about to take our picture again!”
[by We’ll call me “Karen”, Arkansas]
“Hey everybody, Steve is here!”
[by Joel, South Carolina]
And the winner is…
“Quick! To the peanut butter, to the bananas!”
[by Jeff, Michigan]
Out in the water with a walkway back to shore is another way to occupy the creek. In a place like this I see simplicity and comfort. There is an elegance to living when you have what you need but not a lot more, a trim fitness that invites awareness of deeper thoughts.
On the porch of such a cabin I might have ginger ale and baseball on the radio, a deck of cards and friends visiting as often as they would come, two or three at a time. There might be a Frisbee to throw to passing boats, and a kayak to retrieve it when they miss. There would be a Bible or two, moving with me from bedroom to water’s edge and back. And there would be some pens, pencils, and notebooks for writing.
And if your dock were next to mine, and we liked each other, perhaps we’d make a rope ferry so we could be neighbors when the tide was high, sharing blue crabs and pumpkin bread. I imagine that might be pretty nice.
Of course, there are those who step away from the land and reside — for a while — on the waters themselves. …Sometimes travelling, sometimes anchored, always in motion because that’s the way water is. It’s like living on a moble island, and your community is who you invite. Like other species that migrate, many of us also know the internal requirement of at least having the option to pull anchor and GO. We are itinerant beasts, needing the wind and waves to stroke the ancient fur, the ancestral imperative of letting home find us where we happen to be next.
“Let’s live here tonight. Then we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Two unknown paddlers move up the creek in a couple of Necky recreational kayaks, past some small oyster beds. In the distance are homes at the edge of Mt. Pleasant, large, attractive, undoubtedly well-appointed. Creekside, marshfront…whatever you call it, they are close to the action, close to the twice daily push and pull of moon-powered waters. They are close, but still part of the solid world, the land that holds them separate from the water.
This sampling of the coastal tendency might lead to several conclusions about our human kind…some of them soulful, some of them sinister, but none of them as interesting as the Boat-tailed Grackle and two Willets living here. Their sounds penetrate the dull traffic roar of you and me coming and going. I’m thinking perhaps home is where your voice can be heard.