Tuesday, June 12, 2012

the metaphorical canoe

We took a family canoe trip yesterday.  Jason and I shared a canoe for the journey along the fresh water and rock faces that are Clear Creek.  As we first set sail in our canoe we noticed that steering was a major problem.  Within 1 minute of paddling we were on a course collision with the reeds that lined the side of the water.  It took us a better part of 20 minutes to reverse, steer, and get within eyesight of the family canoes ahead of us.  We noticed that every time I used my paddle we would go off course-as in head on collision with rocks.  The only thing that was allowing us to move forward was Jason's muscle power because I gave up trying to paddle.  As I studied the other canoers ahead of us I began to notice that my 9 year old nephew was doing just fine in paddling a steady and straight course down the middle of the creek.  Even my mom, was calmly paddling her way as if she was enoying the most relaxing activity ever.  What were we doing wrong? 

We carried on like this for the entire journey down the creek.  By this time we did not have much to say to each other because we were  both frustrated about our canoe woes.  Are we really this incompetent that we cannot work together to make a canoe function properly? 

About an hour into our ordeal we spotted a landing spot for snack time.  Everyone made jokes about how we crashed into a billion rocks and took a zig zag path, and sometimes complete circles to make it to this spot.  After snack time we boarded the canoe again.  As I took my seat my brother in law noticed that I was facing the wrong way.  We made the correction and started our return journey.  Oh, what a difference it was.  Basically, we sat backwards in our canoe and paddled to our own demise. 

Early into the return journey we ventured out in front of the other canoes.  It was effortless to paddle and keep a steady course, even with the outcroppings of rock all around us.    It was quiet and calm.  It gave me some time to think about how ridiculous that first half was.  There was an obvious metaphor here. Isn't this like marriage?  We really were not on the same page for that first half.  I was wondering why he couldn't figure it out and he was wondering why my paddling made us crash.  We blamed each other and compared ourselves to the other canoes.  We should have just gotten out of the canoe and studied the situation for a second, rather than desperately trying to keep up with the other canoes.  The return journey was a whole different experience.  We had it figured out.  We communicated, made a system that worked for us, and enjoyed some of the scenery along the way. 

Mostly this story is emabarrassing, but I had to find some type of educational element to it. 

1 comment:

Kerri said...


p.s. you wanna hang out in august when i come back to az? email or something! (polevaulter at gmail dot com)