Tuesday, August 19, 2008

remembering how to steer

The cool breeze gently tosseled my hair. The sounds of a squirrel having breakfast and the waves lapping against the shore were the only noise that cut through the silence. Anticipation grew as we carried the canoe down the stairs and put it in the water. We donned our lifejackets, grabbed our oars and carefully climbed in. It had been a few years since I had steered a canoe, so it took me a bit to remember how to effectively use the J-stroke. Just as it began to come back to me, we came to the canal. For almost a hundred feet, lily pads stretched out in front of us; a small trail of water dividing them, no wider then our shoulders. My friend, still unsure of my ability to guide the boat overcompensated, making it difficult to steer. She tried to guide the boat by paddling harder and telling me what side to place my oar. In her attempt to help, we ended up zigzagging through the canal and veering off into the lily pads. By the time we got through, we were both frustrated and tired.

However, while out on the lake, we discussed the dynamics of steering. We talked about the difficulty created when both individuals are trying to steer. She commented that when she tried to fulfill both roles it was difficult for me to fulfill my role. Every time I attempted to direct the boat in a specific direction, her strength would overpower me. This would lead us off the course that we found laid before us.

On the way home, we changed the way we were thinking. She decided to trust my ability to guide the boat. With her trusting me, we quite efficiently moved through the canal without ending up in the lily pads. Only this time, at the other end of the canal, we were not frustrated or exhausted.

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