After retiring two years ago, I have been able to enjoy many new and some long-awaited pursuits. I love photography, hiking, exploring, traveling and of course, writing. But one of my biggest joys is floating on local rivers in my kayak. A friend introduced me to kayaking and we shared some remarkable time on a clear quiet lake. It was like cocaine to my spirit. It awakened something inside me that is hard to explain. Floating on the water, quietly paddling along, listening to the harmony of nature has renewed my life and rejuvenated my well being. It struck a chord in my heart reminding me of how music, any kind, can bring quality to my life.
Since that time, another friend has offered numerous opportunities to go paddling. I get a high on every trip and feel compelled to write about it here. I sincerely hope that by explaining how the music of the river has affected me, you too, will be inspired to pursue a part of our natural world that fulfills your wandering soul.
The music I hear on the river can be legato (smooth) or it can be forte (played loudly.) The water is sometimes cool and serene, and other times it is hot and raucous. Floating along allowing the current to drift you over a multicolored pebbled bottom can relax you into a nature induced coma. I always hear a medley of bird calls, frogs, and all things that buzz along the river. I am amazed by the soft timbre of a whooshing heron’s wings. I love to greet a curious dragonfly that hovers with wings beating to its own musical rhythm. The light “plop” of a turtle into the water off a nearby log relaxes the tempo of my blood pressure.
Some rivers have fast waters with numerous obstacles waiting to claim your kayak. Paddling over boulders and through narrow rushes of water wakes up the human motivation to feel alive. I am A Capella, alone in my quest to conquer the river. In these places, in between quick decisions, the composition can be heard in the bubbling and gurgling waters. Because I am a novice kayaker, there are times I can hear some riffles well before reaching them, and the anticipation feels like a loud drum with tympanums is inside my chest.
The music of the river, with nature as the conductor, is a song cycle with a single theme – inspiration. Whether you can get into a canoe or kayak on the river, or just spend some time near a lake or river, you are sure to hear music in the water if you listen. Mother Nature provides encore after encore through each season, revitalizing our spirits with her songs. I wish you the peace of music in nature wherever your wanderlust takes you.