The Canada geese nest in romantic pairs, extremely vocal and noisy , protesting our close proximity to their nests. as we dip our kayak paddles into the water. Mallard ducks slap their webbed feet against the lake’s surface, taking runny starts to gain momentum. In the twilight pink sky, the black skeletal trees silhouette like a mirror in the inky waters of the Landingville Dam. The sounds over the water are amplified at night- with our limited vision. The wind blows against us- up the lake, and I can feel my new friend, Kenny Ballentine, tensing as he strokes into the wind. He hasn’t been on the water in 8 years since the Scouts, and never in a kayak. But I know even with the exciting little rollers and struggle to make headway, we will be fine- the lake is shallow if we tip and it will be quite a ride back by the full moon. This evening’s paddle celebration is in his honor.
He flew in from California, a documentary filmmaker, to shoot Jane Goodall’s (of the chimpanzee fame) program, “Roots & Shoots,” and also our family- the best example he knows of how NOT to have your children contact the “deadly” Nature Deficient Disorder” that is claiming so many of our youth. ..when technology and screens claim their lives and they are starved for nature.
We invited our two handsome dairy farmer friends along, DJ Duncan & Alex Wiggins, after a long day of milking over 100 head of cows and spreading silage, they arrived in their stained cotton jeans and insulated Carhart jackets and work boots, not bothering to change.
“If you go in, you’ll sink in those paddling duds,” I tease them. They are happy for the deviation and to escape the work of the farm. It is difficult not to paddle in the evening by the full moon and not feel like you are escaping the reality of your busy hurried life, whether it is squeezing teats, painting houses, or flying fingers over a keyboard. All “my boys” are of German descent with an incredibly strong work ethic. They need their Sicilian- “play baby” friend to orchestrate this type of night- a Finnish sauna one night, a moonlit paddle another. If not, the work days just run and mesh together and what more are we left with in the end? A worn out body, a lot accomplished, yes, but very little fun and memories. We will all need something to sit and think about when we retire in that rocking chair, and it better not be regretting the life we did not live. I am in the business of making memories and need to drag these boys along from time to time. For adults can certainly suffer from Nature Deficient Disorder too!