Paddling hard against the wind
steady, energetic strokes
in time with breathing.
heart, paddle, lake synchronized
going both somewhere and nowhere at all.
kayak meditation on our half-filled lake.
mind identifies vital life sources:
wind breathed in, breeze breathed out
water pulsing within, water waves splashing without.
no need for thinking,
mind relaxes, as a passenger
on this shimmering moment’s bon voyage.
sitting relaxed as wind carries me back
going by a fisherman who cries there’s no fish.
instead of whispering about the one’s
as big as alligators, flopping in the shallows
i spare him the fish story and nod
about drought causing lake’s half-emptiness.
on shore a young man shouts
at his girlfriend across the parking lot.
under the influence of anger, despair, joblessness.
so hard to be both alive and dead these days
needing to make a living for food & feeling whole
when there is no right to work.
all i think to do is listen, breathing calmly.
i offer him my sandwich and fruit
in exchange for a hand;
putting the boat upon the roof rack.
for the moment there is no yelling.
just smiles carried across the water by wind towards freedom.
Today’s paddle poem reminds me of a story told by Thich Nhat Hanh about a farmer whose only horse ran away. The villagers bemoaned the bad luck of the farmer. Later, the horse returned with a second horse. “What a lucky man!” the villagers proclaimed. The farmer’s son tried to tame the wild horse and was thrown off, braking his leg. “How unlucky,” the villagers said. The next day, the army came through the village and took every able-bodied young man to fight in the war. The farmer’s son was spared because of his broken leg. And so it goes. Riding waves within a glass, which is both half empty & half full.