Let’s get things clear. I’m an aquaphobic. I am afraid of water. In particular, bodies of water. That move. Underneath me. So unless it’s about 2 feet and I can see the bottom, I don’t like it. And I DEFINITELY won’t go near it. So, that makes water activities difficult.
Fortunately one of my goals as a parent was to NOT transfer this fear to my children. As soon as they were old enough, we signed up for swim lessons. Now my three children are fish. They love swimming. They love to jump in the waves when we visit the coast. They love floating a river. They LOVE the water.
My oldest brother Bubba (I have 4 brothers for those keeping track) and his wife live in the Shenandoah Valley. He was able to go with us to DC for the tour and we made plans for a picnic Sunday. At the end of the day we decided to stay another day so we could float the Shenandoah. I immediately said, “No Way.” No. I cannot do this. I’ll just drive alongside and take pictures. Finally I agreed to consider it. Monday morning I woke up, took my magical anxiety pill and made our way to Bubba’s house. After loading the gear (1 kayak & 2 canoes) into our truck and leaving a vehicle about 2 miles up the road, we prepared to get on the river.
It was decided that the husband, Bella and I would go in the three-person canoe, Bubba and Gabby would take the 2-person canoe and The Boy would go in the Kayak. I kept telling myself, it would be ok. The river didn’t look THAT deep. I figured it would be good!
With everyone ready to go we waited for the husband to park the truck and return so we could leave the shore. We managed to get Tippi into the boat at Bella’s feet (she was in the middle). I was in the front with one oar. The husband was to sit in the back. I had placed my camera in a bag inside a pouch on Bella’s seat. Ready to go, the husband got into the boat.
AT LEAST HE TRIED to get into the boat. Before I knew it we were upside down. In the water. And we hadn’t even left the shore. I managed to save my camera before it ended up submerged while The Boy retrieved water bottles & sunscreen from the currents. He was apologizing profusely to me. Tippi was running for the shore as fast as her little legs could carry her. Me. I was stunned. Wet from head-to-toe and now not so sure about riding in a wobbly canoe. My worst fear happened. And I didn’t drown. Granted, it was ONLY a foot of water. But I survived.
Then I did the unthinkable. I got back into the now upright but wet canoe. And we pushed out into the current. And I survived. Now Bubba was teasing me about being tipped in the tippy canoe…with Tippi the dog. It WAS sort of funny. Of course he was not the one now dripping wet. But you know, God has a FUNNY FUNNY sense of humor. Because about 2 minutes up the river was this:
I have been STALKING this bird since we left the west coast. I KNOW it’s not the SAME bird…but this type of bird has been at every body of water. And every time I’ve been unable to get a picture. Until this moment. After I allowed myself to sit in a tippy canoe and be dumped into the Shenandoah river by my darling husband. Figures. I think there’s some moral lesson there, but I’m still trying to find it.
But wait. There was TWO! Two of these majestic birds standing beside the river. I was in HEAVEN! I kept taking pictures (while trying to slow my beating heart as the canoe was rocking) and enjoying the scenery.
The kids were enjoying themselves. I couldn’t complain. I did get the picture I wanted. I guess you could say it was worth it.
At one point we became stuck on rocks in the middle. I panicked slightly. Fortunately my husband is a level-head and we made it. Without me ending up in the river. At this point I wasn’t sure if I was more afraid of the water or afraid of ruining my camera!
We came into a flat, glass-smooth part of the river. I HAD to take a picture. Like Angie’s pictures. Bella commented that I could go on the lake with Angie now. (We’ll see!)
Before I knew it, two miles was over and we were paddling to the edge. I found myself waffling between being thrilled that it was over…and wanting to go more! Still, it was enough for the day. Bubba and I went to retrieve the truck and the kids and dad spent some time playing in the water.
So, I managed to override my fear and enjoy a couple hours on the river. On the way home we sang Oh Shenandoah. And will I go on the water again? We shall see.