2 March ~2013

My old dogs aren't as crazy about kayaking as my young dogs. I take Hayley and Mollie in turns one day to the next, to kayak at sunset with me. They like it when I let them off and race them along the bank to meet at the point.

Sometimes we just sit in the water and relax. It is a rush when geese or comorants come flying over low to land in the lake. Hayley keeps an eye on people with dogs on the bank, who have the nerve to be walking close to her lake.

My kayak is only 22 pounds, and allows me to feel the ebb and flow of the water, which is extremely peaceful.

This spring I am working to get in shape for another trip to the Florida Keys. I am taking my kayak in my luggage, and I am going to be dropped with it out at the Dry Tortugas, where there is no fresh water or food (you have to bring everything). My goal is to kayak across the open ocean to some of the surrounding keys. It will be an adventure, and I can't wait.

John Muir implied that you can get similar inspiration from the coral seas or the mountain tops: "Fresh beauty opens one's eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common every-day beauty."

The beauty of the sea comes from the same source that the beauty of the mountains does, and most of us are capable of having hearts big enough to love both .

I like what Mark Twain wrote about getting out to explore and discover - that in 20 years you will regret it if you don't. That rings particularly true for me, since in 20 years I will be in my eighties:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Below are photos I took during last year's trip to the Keys. I had always read about coral reefs, but was amazed upon seeing one for the first time. I love the solitude of being out in the Gulf or Atlantic sides of the Keys in the open ocean - somewhat like how I feel wandering above timberline with my border collies. The mystery of beauty at both placed touches deep, and I am one who keeps returning to see more



“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”—Rachel Carson