Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beyond stupid

-I have long appreciated the word flow, how it can be used to describe both the passing of time and the movement water. Now, as I say it out loud, I even like the way my lips curl as it rolls off my tongue into the air-

It seemed like a good idea. I remember thinking this even up to the last second before my kayak flipped in 42F (5.5C) degree water the other day. Matt, Alex and I were having a laugh, running a small set of rapids down what is normally a calm creek in front of my house. However, the last few days had warmed the surrounding mountains in the Inland Northwest and an unusual January runoff had super-sized the amount of water and the roll of the rapids. I thought what harm could there be in shooting the middle set.

They say body heat is lost 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. Something I could not fully appreciate until I decided to ditch the capsized kayak. A frigid rush of water engulfed my chest, gasping for breath but inhaling a mouth-full of water instead, my arms thrashed their way towards shore, fighting against the natural flow of melted snow. I remember the sensation of my hand gripping a clump of reeds sprouting above the water next to the swollen bank. Drenched in adrenaline I managed the cold walk back to the house. 

Dry, warm and safely ashore I sit here the day after, thinking maybe I wasn't as close to the edge as I thought I was during those handful of frantic moments. Staring out, surveying the same rush of runoff from the kitchen window it seems almost like a day-dream now. I guess it's like Hunter Thompson said, "the edge.... there is no honest way to explain it because the people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."

Among the valuable lessons I am taking from this experience is how I prefer the phrase "going with the flow" more metaphorically than literally.

(Blair Witch footage provided by my good friend Alex. 
Kayak recovered by my good friend Matt)


Libbey said...

i can't help but notice that matt declines the exhibition...

Libbey said...

oh well.

Mike said...

you were never a really good swimmer- whether that was the Spokane club pool, or those wicked breakers in hawaii. Looked like insane amounts of fun, wish I could have been there!

Anonymous said...

you are crazy, but in a good way.

Brad said...

yes Libbey, Matt seemed to think the water was too cold... whatever. and Mike, i admit my skills in the water are more akin to interpretive dancing, but i am certain I was swimming like Phelps that day in the creek. Oh, if only it was on video.

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