Selection from Eddies for Outdoorsmen
I am somewhat of a white-water enthusiast. Although I prefer to stay away from the more dangerous water, I do enjoy working with the river currents to maneuver my boat around obstacles. As we white-water boaters navigate a river, we look for eddies. Down river from a rock or other obstacle there will be an eddy where the water is swirling and running upstream. The boater can drive his boat into a suitable eddy and with the help of the currents he can quickly turn the boat around and stop, facing upstream. Here in the eddy the boater can rest and relax while the water rushes by on all sides. Here he can pause and enjoy the beauty of the river. Here he can stand by while fellow boaters test their skills in the rapids. From here he can study the river and plan his next maneuvers.
On one canoe trip I recall coming upon a pair of canoeists standing knee deep in rushing water, struggling desperately with a swamped canoe. About ten yards downstream from them was a small eddy from a submerged rock. I spun my canoe into the eddy and stopped. The eddy was so small it was virtually hidden by my sixteen-foot boat, but it was strong enough to do the job. It must have looked as though some mystical power was holding my boat in position against the current. As the men in front of me struggled to pull their boat from the raging current, I sat quietly in my canoe, using the handle end of my paddle as a hook to retrieve their gear as it floated by. One of the pair looked at me in amazement and exclaimed, “How in the world are you doing that?”
Eddy turns are a skill that every white-water enthusiast should master, not only for the sake of safety, but in order to enjoy the river to its fullest. On the river of life we also need to find the eddies. All of us need to find some quiet time when we can rest and relax as the world rushes by on all sides. We need time to observe our situation, reflect on the past and plan for the future. Where can we find these eddies? Naturally, vacations can be a time of rest and relaxation. But we also need to stop in the smaller, more frequent eddies. A supervisor I once worked for had a forty-five minute commute to and from work each day. He said he liked having that time alone to reflect on the day’s events and plan for the next day. Things like jogging or walking the dog can provide us with eddies. Many religious people set aside a time each day for meditation and prayer. Making good use of the eddies on the river of life will help us cope with life’s difficulties, maintain our sanity and enjoy life to the fullest. Are you finding enough eddies along your way?
Selection from Pyramids of Thrush Creek (Names have been changed.)
Robin began back-paddling furiously. She was paddling on the right side. So the boat automatically started back-ferrying to the left as she slowed her approach to the hole. Her bow was within three feet of the hole, but she had ferried far enough left to clear it. One problem had been avoided, but another lay ahead!
The current was now drawing her diagonally into the first big wave. She had no time left to maneuver out of the swift current. She had to take the wave! But, if the wave caught her boat at this angle, she would capsize for sure! She didn’t want to put her three-year-old daughter into this kind of risky situation, but there was no time left to avoid it. She had to concentrate on controlling the canoe. She had to turn the boat—and quickly! Several powerful forward sweeps brought the bow around and headed her straight into the wave. But she hit it with too much force. The bow sliced into the wave. Robin’s heart sank! She knew what it was like in the bow of a canoe. She knew what Tina was facing. She could see it all through Tina’s eyes.
As the bow sliced into the wave, buckets of chilly water splashed over the gunnels, wetting Tina from her face to her feet. Like a flash, the little girl dropped her paddle overboard, turned and started scrambling toward her mother. “Stay in your seat! Stay in your seat!” Her mother’s order was quick and sharp. Tina sat back down, facing her mother. She had never heard her use that tone of voice. She had never seen such a look of concern on her face. She knew something was going terribly wrong. She froze in her seat as the second wave spilled over the bow, soaking her back side from her head to her heels. The screams came out of nowhere! She couldn’t stop them!
“We’re swamped!” Her mother shouted to Levi. That must be something bad! They plowed into a third wave. Tina gripped the seat with both hands and stared wide eyed at her mother who was kneeling in water up to mid-thigh and struggling to keep the boat upright. Tina felt the canoe roll to the side. She felt the seat drop away from under her. Suddenly water was everywhere! She felt her life jacket pushing up under her chin. The water was pushing her up and down. She had nothing to hold onto! She blinked the water out of her eyes and saw the canoe beside her, only a small part of it sticking out of the water. She stopped screaming for a second to spit water out of her mouth, but the screams kept coming. She saw her mother swimming toward her.