Sunday, August 07, 2011

Our summer has been pretty tame so far..excluding 4th of July weekend...which found us doing a little river kayaking.

 Too late I remembered the warnings about staying out of the raging rivers this summer d/t the flood stage torrents. I remembered that approximately/ precisely when I tipped over while pushing away with the paddle from a jagged rock outcropping to prevent a head injury. This particular part of the river is called "the rapids" (ya think?). It passes by a bit of a bend, the outer curve of which is bounded by a few hundred feet of sheer rock cliff at least a hundred or so feet high. (It seemed that high to me!) There is no shore on that side, except for a little space where a crack in the cliff has made a crevice for rock and land slides. There are areas where the rocks have worn away and the current rushes underneath the rock face. I did NOT want to get swept "underneath" and managed to pull out on the land and rock slidden area. Boat and shoes were washed down stream. Interestingly, the boat eventually floated back to me. Waterlogged and submerged-too heavy for me to lift it out. Useless!

Mr. Sunny did not kayak this section with me. He does not like to get wet. He was to meet me downstream. But, I knew he'd come back looking for me. This I know from decades of experience with the man. Also, I have kayaked this section of the river before and he can't help himself from keeping an eye on my progress from the other side. So, I confidently settled on the landslide and waited for him. Shortly he appeared on the other side solemnly surveying the situation. Water was too loud to communicate any way much beyond hand signals. I pointed questioningly up the crevice. To my estimation it was the only way out excluding helicopter rescue. He shook his head and held up a finger for me to wait for him. As if I had a choice. Raging river in front of me and rock walls on either side. But, I nodded my agreement and hummed to pass the time. Snatches of a little song one of our Sunny boys likes to sing and play on the piano flitted through my mind. 
"Tra la la la. As if you had a choice". 

Iit was actually a bit ROMANTIC waiting for my hero to pull off the rescue. Sometimes when we are NOT together I'm feeling the love as if he is right by my side. ("Even if you cannot hear my voice, I'll be right beside you dear".) I knew if he had a breath in his body he'd get me out of there. Of course, in case anything happened to HIM meantime, it was getting towards dusk and I was contemplating the possibility of a long cold night in my soaked clothes. I began debating the value of trying to dig a hole to burrow down in. I contemplated the possibility of death and knew that I had already experienced more blessedness in life than most.

Meanwhile, a lady fishing on the other side had noticed my plight and sent HER husband for help.  She was trying to holler encouragements across to me. I shouted back word by carefully enunciated word "If. I. die. Tell. my. least. I. died. in. love." etc. I knew she couldn't really hear me but we were communicating anyway. She was gazing helplessly at me when she glanced up to the top of the cliffs with a smile of relief. I knew he was up there. Pretty soon some rocks slid down the crevice. I was hoping he wouldn't slide down next! Honestly I still was still humming and not a bit scared. ("I know we'll make it anywhere-Away from here"). 

To shorten the story, we didn't have any rope in the SUV, so, he shows up with a dog leash. He emptied the boat and tried to push it to the now-larger group of on-lookers on the other side, but it circled back under the cliffs. We hooked the dog leash on my life jacket so he could help me up the crevice in the cliffs. OK, we also have a history of me NOT being able to manage cliffs, heights, slippery steep areas...I am afraid of heights and he has had to haul my hiney over them many times. Well, it wasn't working for him to haul me up by the dog leash. I'm almost as heavy as him and I figured if I slipped it would pull him down too. So, he got behind me and let me tell you, With the exception of fainting in terror and knocking the husband behind me off the cliff, climbing up the canyon was the very last thing I wanted to do, but, there was really no choice. I wanted VERY much to "lose it". So, I had to hum and talk and sing to distract myself.
 ("I can hardly speak I understand
Why you can't raise your voice to say
Have heart my dear
We're bound to be afraid.."

We had one bad little moment where I grabbed a boulder and it broke loose. I was pushing the boulder so it wouldn't hit his head and he was pushing my butt until we got past and it crashed on down. Oh, it was high excitement for sure. He had strategically hooked another dog leash to an exposed root and that helped for pulling ourselves up. When we got to the top he snorted when I bragged "I wasn't a bit afraid. I knew you'd get me out of there." Now we had to hike down the mountain over sharp rocks and pine cones on my bare feet * to get down to the flat place where he had tied up the other boat and a raft. We paddled across, climbed up the embankment to the waiting car, and all the danger was over. We got our boat back too. While we were at the top of the cliff the folks on the other side shouted up that they had gotten it the next time it circled out in the current. I did not go with him back for it. As the adrenaline died down I began to realize that I had broken a toe sometime during the event, so, I sat in a kayak and waited -thankfully**

 (*About that painful hike down in bare feet: I dropped back and kept my whining low because I didn't want him to get any ideas about CARRYING me down. The last time he tried to carry me down a mountain was in jubilation right after I (finally) agreed to marry him and he tripped on a loose root and like to dropped me..well, I just didn't want to risk a broken neck on top of everything else.)

** we'll prob  never be anything less than thankful for the better-than-it-could-have-been outcome of this bonding-type experience.

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