Into the heart of a child

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithwikle/3705333553/” title=”Full Moon Lake Michigan South Haven Sea Kayaking by Go Kayak Now, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2594/3705333553_8bc30af16f.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”Full Moon Lake Michigan South Haven Sea Kayaking” /></a>

Having paddled with kids a lot more than the average guy, I know that they are funny, fickle creatures who crave adventure and excitement like crazy dope fiends. They don’t care about technique, strokes, or learning anything. They want the experience without all the talking.

Laura and I set off from our very familiar Deer Lick Creek beach south of South Haven at the setting of the sun with our 10 year old daughter Isabella.  She was paddling with fury out of the gate, determined to stay ahead of Dad. She dug deep with her home made inuit blade, and grew frustrated when she wasn’t leading the pack. Laura tried to offer tips and technique to no avail. Having been through this before, I let her go off on her own. I coasted until she began to see the full moon rise over the water.

This finally made an impact on her, and she started to enjoy the cool night air, the stars, and the glassy surface of the water as she paddled towards the pier.

Once we reached the pier there was a crowd watching the full moon rise across the surface of the water. She announced proudly, “I paddled all the way here!”  As Laura and I paddled up someone asked, “where did you come from?”

“We were out paddling and we just found this kid out here on her own.”  I said. There was a sudden and communal intake of  social outrage. Then I burst that bubble. “Just kidding, this is my kid.” There was an audible sigh of relief across the space of the darkened water and the blinking red light of the pier.

I want to meet that kid that sea kayaks unsupervised under the full moon. Peter Pan, Lord of the Flies, and other childhood stories be damned, kids just don’t venture out into the dark to experience magic on their own anymore. They have to be dragged kicking and screaming. The poet in me obliges me to make my children experience sunsets and moonrises in abundance. In the end will they have no impact, like a comet sick of seeing it’s tail. I hope not. I hope there is some magic left in the world where a father can show his daughter molten silver poured over Lake Michigan, and she says, “WOW”!

And now our obligatory U2 quote:

Into the heart… of a child
I stay awhile… oh, I can go back

Into the heart… of a child
I can smile
I can go there

Into the heart
Into the heart of a child
I can go back
I can stay awhile

Into the heart…

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One reply to “Into the heart of a child”

  1. Thorin Messer says:

    1. Insert obligatory mockery for enjoying U2.
    2. I’d say it ain’t the kids that are the problem. I blame parents and the kind of people who would gasp about a kid doing something adventurous without the “protection” of an adult. But I’m a curmudgeon, and I suspect I’m not in step with society on this one. I also yearn for the days when brass-balled drunks made this country great. Or maybe I just wish it was still ok to drink at work…

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