Morning Standups on the Water

It’s spring, and morning paddles have begun. Today the sun wasn’t yet visible over the island behind me when I pushed off the beach, and the wake from my paddle and board disturbed an otherwise glassy harbor surface. I felt like an invader, conqueror, circumnavigator, super hero, and very lucky human all at once.

Dutch Island lighthouse ospreys

Wildlife sightings included the recently returned ospreys (who have some work to do before their nest on top of the Dutch Island lighthouse reaches last year’s size). I also saw my favorite pair of loons, who kept me company all winter. I can usually get close enough to admire the white collar around their necks and the sharp definition of black and white on their tail feathers before they dive underwater to safety. And speaking of underwater, the many jellyfish are a great reminder not to fall into a fifty degree bay.

The only people I see on these dawn adventures are deep into their own tasks: a runner making his way along the Sheffield Cove shoreline, only twenty feet away from my watery path. The local oyster farmer who pushes off the Fort Getty dock each morning. Over the next month, fishermen will reappear, but for now the quiet harbor feels like a private playground.

Paddling allows me the luxury of waking up on the water. It’s also a great full-body cardio workout, which somehow clears my mind. While I’m focusing on pulling the paddle through the water bubble-free or changing sides to adjust my course, an idea will suddenly crystalize: a theme for a blog post, an approach to a meeting, or the best analogy to describe the rocky shores of a fictitious island.

Thanks to where we live, I don’t need to get in a car or load my board on the roof to go. So even though I may not be a conqueror or a super hero, and even though the other creatures I meet each morning may consider me an invader, I’m definitely one very lucky human.