I hear that a lot these days from people I talk with…that life just feels “weird”. We’re living in a time “post” pandemic (it’s not like COVID has disappeared). We’ve experienced a political polarization unlike any I’ve seen in my lifetime and inflation is severe–to the point of “hugely unsettling” because for those of us who don’t live in the upper middle class, our lifestyle is beginning to be (or has drastically been) impacted. Seems like everyone is experiencing personal crises. Whew! Ok, I promise this isn’t going to be a Debbie Downer post.
I will admit it hasn’t been easy for me either. While I’ve tried to stay positive, I’ve also dealt with stress, feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed, to the point of sleeplessness. NO FUN! I do my yoga and stretching. Massage? Yep. Acupuncture. Mmmhmmm. This stuff has helped me to a degree and I believe in “alternative” approaches to wellness. But nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to how I feel when I get on my board, on the rapids. It’s truly quite magical and lyrics of Jimmy Buffett’s song “One Particular Harbor” resonate in my mind. If I could only get a doctor to write me a prescription to get on the water a minimum of once a week I’d be set.
Two weeks ago I paddled the North Santiam. It was the milder stretch but maaaaan it felt good. Then last week Sam and I were able to sneak away to Oakridge where we had three lovely days of paddling, biking and relaxing. And there were more than one chilly neked swims. But looking back it was almost laughable how predictable our behavior was. We met there, both coming off of long hours from our intense work-week. We brought that stress with us initially. However, that first afternoon we ran the Middle Fork of the Willamette below Hill Creek Dam. It’s a really fun SUP stretch, which neither of us had ever paddled. SO good. By the time we got done I was 10 degrees calmer (degrees of what, I have no idea but let’s just roll with it). The next day was a whole new world and after an awesome bike ride, complete with a mid-ride swim/slide in a creek, we were giggling like kids. Food tasted better and coffee more amazing from a camp spot opposite Salmon Creek Falls. The final paddle was the lower section of the river that we’d skipped the first day, and the perfect way to end our short excursion to Oakridge/Westfir. Caravaning back to Bend we stopped a few times, to “smell the roses” or in this case the incredible blooming rhododendrons littered all over the pass. A final stop at the Veggie Man in La Pine where we, combined, dropped about $200 on produce (to which Sam gave a bunch away because that’s the kind of guy he is). Let me just say, I’m a whole new woman post-vacation than I was the entire month before I left.
Ending my work week this week was a different dynamic altogether. I felt good. Tired, but good. There’d been “curveballs” all week, as there are when you’re dealing with the public in the hospitality industry. But I felt fine. Grateful for my dinner and the rest of the evening…albeit short because I go to sleep ungodley early. Having given myself the time to do what I’m passionate about is the crucial point here. It’s a necessary reset and I’m guessing I’m not alone in this need.
PS I kept the ball rolling by sessioning with my girl Kelli this morning on the lower stretch of Big Eddy. It’s short, and the walks back upstream changes the flow (pun intended!). But we both agree it’s fun to “work” for it sometimes. All I know is that it’s important I “take my medicine” as I’m hereby self-prescribing. Ha! So, if you want to come play on the frisky ripples please reach out. It will typically take a fairly long drive out-and-back to get to what’s good, but I’m game. Or, if rapids aren’t your jam, find what is but maybe if everybody finds that secret medicine we’d all just quit being so weird.