Mama on a Solo

Originally written: Aug 24, 2016

Mama on a Solo

I am 36. I have a healthy and joyful 3 year-old daughter. I’m a stay-at-home mom for the most part. I job share to maintain my position as an outdoor educator and teach yoga once a week. These early years with Sophie I count as the best years I may ever have. My daughter and I, our mutual love so deep. Moments so cozy and joyful. Slow and wonder-full.

Freedom and independence though are not typical words I would use to describe life since pregnancy. But when you typically lack certain feelings, they are so heightened and memorable when you do experience them. Time stands still. A feeling is felt. A memory is forged and stays vivid.

A morning solo-canoe. A perfect series of moments.

Knowing I would have the rare day to myself, I poured myself into my daughter. It is love all morning, and then father and daughter are off in the car. I am slightly giddy.

My craft is exceptionally beautiful. A cedar strip Peterborough Canoe Company canoe—green on the outside, and shiny, lacquered wood on the inside. Strips coaxed into a rib cage. A descendant in a long line of canoes reaching back to ancient trees and First Nations hands. A knower of water. Beautifully architected, built and cared for.

Blue Chalk Lake is beautiful. Small, quiet and this morning like a mirror­­­—no other human activity.

The canoe’s beauty matters. The beauty and solitude of the lake before me matters.

I am moved.

I lay a pillow just behind the bow seat, and get in facing the stern. A wave of long-felt feelings sweeps over my body as I kneel—I feel strong, capable, independent. “Yes”, I say out-loud.

And then, I am off. C-ing and J-ing. Freed from land and floated by water. Cutting across to the point, and then hugging the shore. Slowly past cedars with new cones, and white birch daring to lean out in search of sun. Deciduous crowns reach high and billow. The white pines tower tallest, their upper branches silhouetted against the blue sky. The faces of the rocks are tattooed by lichens. Some plants eke out a soil living in the little cracks and flats where needles have come to rest, and time and life have created the thinnest of soils.

I gaze down and watch little whirlpools follow my back stroke. The paddle lifts and moves through air as little droplets fall and create a pattern of circles that ripple out…and out.

I am smiling. A big, full smile.

The canoe is responsive and I can go in any direction I want. I am released from the grasp of time. . .

Eventually, I return and lie on the dock. Feel the sun and warm breeze…..and miss my daughter.

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