Kayaking at Night

Elizabeth BergOctober 27, 2017Exploring HumorAwesome Moments

My paddles pushed through the smooth surface of the water with ease. This didn’t seem like the same river that we had battled so fiercely only hours before.

The very water that had hurled waves, fast currents, and strong winds at us earlier peacefully yielded to us now that the sun had gone down. With only the reflection of the moon and a handful of stars to guide us, we paddled single-file out to the middle of the river. Everything was silent, but in a peaceful, rather than stifling, kind of way. Only our paddles made any sound, lightly dipping in and out of the water. We didn’t have any goal in mind, any destination in sight. We simply stopped paddling after a while, deciding that this seemed like the perfect spot. Now with our kayaks lined up side by side, we lodged our paddles between our legs, grabbed onto the kayaks on either side of us, and settled into the stillness of the river, gazing up at the sky. I was shocked to see how many stars there were. Since I live in a city that is brightly lit twenty-four hours a day, I was not accustomed to seeing more than a handful of stars at a time. It was only out here on the river, away from artificial light, that I could observe the infinite number of stars in the sky. As I watched the sky in awe, I took time to reflect on our other kayak trip, earlier that day.

Our trip earlier was meticulously planned. We were all bundled in layers of clothing, and we each had a change of clothes, along with food, water, and other necessary supplies, packed in dry bags and stored in our kayaks. We kayaked for a couple of hours before stopping for lunch. After eating, we continued on for another half hour or so. We had a tight schedule, one that depended on the currents and tides. This careful planning didn’t prevent us from having a great time. Instead, it offered a different kind of enjoyment from our night voyage. During the day, we were motivated, and had an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment when we were done. Meanwhile at night, we were able to paddle with a sense of purposelessness without worrying about where we were going or what we were doing. Neither experience would have been the same without the other. We needed the contradiction between light and dark, day and night, motivation and purposelessness, action and reflection, to fully appreciate all that the river had to offer.

Elizabeth Berg plays a number of sports and is really interested in science, particularly genetics. However, more than anything else, she loves to read, often devouring multiple books on a variety of topics in a single day. Her friends and family are always particularly amused by the fact that she even reads in the shower.