Thursday 16 January 2014

Look Out For The....!!!

I love the outdoors!  Rain, shine, snow or sun, I like the vastness of open space and the feeling of being in touch with something that is bigger than all of us.

There is something about being outside that invigorates me.  The air that kisses your face, the sun that warms your hands, the trees that watch you, all of natures animals that want to play. Growing up, I remember summers when my brother and I would be outside from time we jumped out of bed until the street lights came on (dinner in between, of course!).  We would ride our bikes, back and forth, to visit our friends or tackle the rugged bike path not far from our home.  My friends and I would play neighbourhood tag, which spanned a 4 block radius. This would keep us busy for hours, running through the backyards of neighbours trying to be discreet. Winter was all about skating and tobogganing.  We had a German Shepherd, Sasha, and she would pull us on our sleigh across the snowy streets, while we caught snowflakes on our tongues!

Living in a condo poses a bit of a problem for me.  While I do use my balcony to sit and read in the summertime, I don't have the luxury of walking out the door to a beautifully manicured backyard and breathing in some good ol' oxygen.

My solution to this dilemma is to use my weekends as my "great escape".  I try to get out and explore the city, visit people WITH outdoor space and avoid being inside my box in the sky. This becomes a bit challenging in the winter months because few people like to venture out. They like to hide indoors, some actually take the winter off and hibernate. I have one friend who hides behind a closed door, in front of a warm fire and under a fuzzy blanket from Halloween to Easter! Winter is not his schtick and he prides himself in his uncanny ability to be able to survive 6 months inside, only leaving his house to go to work and come back home. That's a long time to sit and do nothing in my opinion!

So as every weekend approaches, I try to figure out what to do that will get me out of my box. I don't want to impose on the same people or do the same things every weekend, and I am running out of options!  This weekend it's just me and my boy. My daughter is camping up north with her Girl Scout Troop. It will be a quiet weekend for sure. No disagreements about how long someone is taking in the bathroom, no fighting over who gets control of the t.v. remote and no tears about how "I always side with" so and so. 

In the midst of my pondering today, I remembered an outing from many years ago that was a bit of a disaster. I can laugh about it now but it wasn't so funny when it happened.

My ex (the second one) was an avid motorcyclist and one particular weekend, in the attempt to save our already dissolving marriage, he suggested we take a ride out to the country.  Sure, I said, why not?  The kids were at my parents and I really didn't feel like sitting around staring at him all day. At least on the back of the bike, I was guaranteed there would be no disagreements.

We were on the bike for about 2 hours when he pulled onto a path that took us through a beautifully wooded area. I had no idea where we were or what he was up to.  Honestly, the first thought that came to my head was that he was going to leave me here.

Pulling up to a little shack by water, I saw a sign "CANOE RENTALS".  Apparently, he had seen a sign for this as we rode through one of the little quaint towns that dot the outskirts of our big city.  Now, a little bit of information biggest fear is drowning.  In my teens, my brother and I were goofing around in my uncle's swimming pool when I got stuck under a raft and couldn't get back up. Ever since then, I do NOT like being at the mercy of someone else in the water.

But, okay, in the interest of not starting an argument, I agreed. He was making an effort, right?

So in we go, but remember, water and I are not friends. I make sure that my life jacket is on snugly and that it won't fall off. Taking the oar in hand, our first "discussion" begins. 

"You aren't doing it right"  I hear him say, as we make our way around some fallen trees and very murky water.  In my opinion, he was always trying to tell me HOW to do things the right way because obviously I ALWAYS did them the wrong way.  There were times when I really wanted to tell him to speak slower so I could write it all down and take notes but I knew that this would be the start of a war, and a big one at that! 

"I'm trying" I say nicely, remembering that we are on water and in the middle of nowhere.  The last thing I want is to be left out here because we argued.

After about 15 minutes, I feel like I am getting a hand of this and am feeling pretty good at this point.  We are rowing in sync.  He is quiet and so am I.  I look around and marvel at the beauty of our lovely province.  This little lake was so hidden away that not many people were enjoying the tranquility of its peaceful water. 

As I gaze out into the distance, I can see dark clouds moving in and hear the faint sound of thunder. This can't be good.  Open lake, canoe and possible thunder and lightning don't mix. I suggest we make our way back to the shore. We had rowed out quite a distance and who knew how long before the storm would hit.

So there we were, clipping along at a nice speed.  I was so proud of my ability to help move this wooden boat quickly and deftly across the water!  The shore was within sight and we just had to get back through that mess of fallen trees, driftwood and murky water. 

I could hear his voice say "look out for the...."

In my hurry to get back to shore, I didn't realize how speed and a fallen tree have enough force to hurl you off your seat and into the water. 

He made it under the tree, no problem!  But there I was, in the middle of this lake, soaked, head to toe, coughing and spitting up the incredible amount of water I had just ingested.  My head hurt.  Hit, smack dab in the middle of my forehead, by a dead tree. 

I WAS NOT HAPPY. Yet, he was laughing, uncontrollably and so much so, that he couldn't help me BACK into the canoe. 

I muddled my way through the water to the shoreline which was about 60 feet away. The gentlemen who rented us the canoe ran over to me and asked if I was alright. I said yes, I was fine but he may want to ask my the man in the canoe the same question, in about 10 minutes.

While this little outing got me out of the house, it didn't little to help salvage the remnants of our relationship.  I can laugh now when I think back to being propelled into the water with such force.  It was quite the sight.

Needless to say, I haven't been canoeing since.

I have learned one thing about how I deal with my fears though.  Most people let their fears debilitate them.  I am not one of those people.  Fear is something that I tackle head on and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.  But I will tell you, the thought of my fear is always worse then the actual "doing" of the fear, although I am not so sure that this applies to how deathly afraid of birds I am...

Fear is one emotion we should be able to control.  Funny how the mind deals with it.

Talk to me! I'd love to know what your fears are and how you conquer them?


  1. OMG I just had the longest comment ever and wordpress screwed up and ditched it! GAH GAH GAH! No, not gah, FUCK!

    Anyway, I had rambled on and on about how hits to the head make me laugh. My husband has hurt himself by banging into objects twice recently and I giggle horribly at him! Terrible, I know!

    Love this post!

    1. Funny how we all take delight in someone else's pain? hehe! We are bad! When I was in Japan, I giggled every time my first husband walked through a door and whacked his head on a door would think he would have learned after the second time...HA! Would have LOVED to see the longest comment ever though...damn technology!!!