We were hanging with our dog at the gorge on a sunny Sunday, our annual pilgrimage, digging on the eddies, riffles, and glassy cool flow. Upstream about thirty yards from us, a few guys put in with kayaks and a one-person canoe.
Turned out only one of them knew what he was doing, and the other two immediately got caught in a bunch of rocks, tipped to the side, and swamped.
Fortunately, the river is pretty calm where we were. It took about ten minutes to get all the craft to shore, at which point I struck up a conversation as I helped them drain the boats. The less experienced ones were quiet, but the savvy one told us that he scored the canoe off the grandfather of one of the shy guys.
They hadn’t had much trouble so far; things just happened to go sideways (see what I did there?) right in front of us. They were having fun, they were on the water on a beautiful day in a stunning place, they were gathering stories to tell friends over beers.
And, two of the guys happened to be very large. Rather than hide under floppy clothing, they were shirtless; one of them had on skin-tight water shorts and his folds were spilling all over the sides.That was the savvy guy.
Their whole experience made me very happy. They didn’t let lack of skills or self-consciousness about their bodies get in the way. They lined up a few boats, got them to the river, and tried stuff. They had fun.
Far as I was concerned, they were crushing life.