Whilst paddling down the river with Billie (my hand built canoe) A family of heron flew in front of me. I guess you could call it a three guard salute. I was in awe of their beauty (alas, no photos as I still do not trust my skills enough to not accidentally drop my camera into the river!) and it struck me that I have not experienced such a connection with nature since my childhood.

Instead of feeling like a spectator, I was a participant. The wildlife does not seem to object to a quiet paddler like it would a riverside walker. Fish swim around the canoe, instead of away from it. A pair of swans bought the entire family to greet me. Although I deduced from their disconcerted snorts that they were disgruntled that I had no food to share.

This new found connection with the world around me would not have been possible without my courage to learn a new skill and the blissful solitude of a solo paddle. Sometimes awesome things do happen when you are the only witness. Isn’t that a privilege worth celebrating?

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