There are a few paddling options near Jefferson City – the Maries, Missouri, Osage, Gasconade, Big Piney, and the Moreau. I’ve paddled a little on the Osage and plan to explore more, but I wanted to check out the Moreau after a tip from a friend last week.
And no matter how far we attempt to remove ourselves from this natural process, there is no escape. The kingdoms we build for ourselves will soon be shuttered – whether by outside force, our own doing, or the natural process of destruction and regeneration. It’s the most basic truth in existence. And yet, I seldom consider it. Because both the enormity and uncertainty are just too much for my little brain.
That is, until I find myself crackling down a trail in the Hercules Glade Wilderness in southern Missouri with my bestie, Ivy and my boo, Mike.
I have a hard time knowing when to stop. Rushing through each day hoping I’ll have the stamina to complete it. It’s a race between my energy and the clock. And the sun goes down, my daughter drifts off, and I melt into a puddle on the floor.
But actually, it’s the couch. And there’s Netflix. And eating. So much eating…
And at some point – if I can muster the tiniest bit of self control – I peel myself up and plod reluctantly to bed.
This is where I found myself exactly one month ago. Only it was before lunch – I was staring at my computer – and I just felt heavy. My body was tired. My mind was exhausted. And, possibly what troubled me the most, my heart was empty. I had absolutely nothing left to give.
When I share with a friend that I enjoy a solo hike in the woods, I’m often met with incredulous looks and questions like “Aren’t you scared?” And when I was married, the questions were more like “And your husband is okay with that?”
The first dip of the paddle – as it reaches into the water. The smooth, silky water. I pull it firmly and feel the power as Sunset, my kayak, lurches forward. A rush of air floods my lungs – the blue sky stretching its circumference around me. I am here.