It has been a crazy few weeks since I flew to the States on the 25th of March. One snow storm after another. Then my hubby arrived in Minneapolis for work and within 48 hours we were back on a plane and headed to the Netherlands due to a family emergency. The following days were much of a blur to both of us as we dealt with the emotional rollercoaster of the situation.
Unlike the snow storms that seem to be holding tight to the Minnesota landscape, the Dutch landscape is now a patchwork of color exploding into full bloom.
We launched from the same Hillegom paddle launch site where a few short weeks ago I had started my kayak season. Today we decided that we would paddle in the opposite direction away from Hillegom through the canals into the bulb fields.
The cold winter and late spring freezes have delayed the bulbs a bit this year. The smell of hyacinths hit us as we unloaded Cedar from the car and loaded her on the cart, rolled her across the filled parking lot to the boat launch. Families walking past to the soccer (football) fields for the Saturday morning games watched us as we walked passed. Children commented about our beautiful boat as we placed her in the water and loaded our equipment.
“Look at the boat, it is a canoe!”
“Cool, look… a canoe.”
The sounds of pure joy in their small voices made both of us smile as we paddled towards the quiet of the waiting fields.
The stress of the last week melted away as we paddled each stroke as partners of one ship. Silent in our own thoughts each of us with an occasional mention of a bird we saw or the houses we passed. We had a white goose that seemed to be very upset we had encroached on his canal. Hissing at us as we passed by.
This part of the Bollen Canoe route is well marked with signs pointing in the correct direction of travel. The fields line both sides of the canal and are blooming with daffodils, hyacinths, and very few early tulips.
At one point we had to portage over a small irrigation control for the fields. We both laughed and commented how this portage was easy compared to our Boundary Waters 180 rod portage last fall.
We paddled though more bulb fields and past the buildings that house bulb grower warehouses.
We then paddled past a small farm with new born baby lambs.
We passed a Canada goose who seemed a bit out of place standing in the tulip fields that will be blooming in a couple more weeks but he seemed not to mind that we were slowing paddling by. A bit like me, he seemed out of place from his natural habitat of North America but very happy to be in the middle of such beauty. Maybe he felt that Minnesota was a bit too cold this year and came here instead to vacation.
We saw the white goose again and he was still not happy to see us, hissing at us again. We again laughed and paddled past.
At the launch we sat for a moment together in the moment just enjoying the paddle we had just completed.
Thankful for each other, thankful for this moment, thankful for being a team.
I would say the same, “Look, cool, … a canoe”. A very beautiful canoe. It is a good thing you could use it a powerful stress relief. Hope things are looking up for you. Best wishes. Peter
Thanks as always Peter. I am sure you understand how hard it is when an emergency happens when you live or work a half a world away. We never know if we make it in time to help relieve the situation. In this case we made it in time in order to give us both some peace. Thank goodness for our hobby and for the strength of our relationship and for the love of my Dutch family.
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I’m so sorry for your family emergency, and hope that things are better. But what a wonderful way to relax from all that stress: your photos of the landscape and flowers are gorgeous! You were wise to take that canoe trip!
Thanks Ann for your kind words and concern. Better is relatively what one takes out of life. We feel the situation better for the entire family, but then when there is a life time of emotions surrounding such things it is always hard to put everything for some people into prospective. Luckily for me I have dealt with this sort of situation so much that it almost feels normal. It was not easy for sure. My Dutch family is full of love for each other and that one thing can make all situations less stressful.
Sorry to read about your emergency, that is always hard emotionally especially when it involves unexpected travel. Appears a good paddle can help take a bit of the stress off and give time for reflection. I did see where Minnesota received close to a foot of snow over the weekend (we spent the weekend freezing down in St. Louis). Thanks for the pictures of your adventure, at least I can imagine what Spring will bring ..,. if it ever decides to show up. Note, stay away from those Geese – nasty tempered especially if they happen to be defending a nest or in this situation a a choice spot on the canal.
Thanks for your kind words. We are hoping that the snow in MN will be gone by Sat as we fly back in to clean up the chaos we left in our quick wake to get on a plane. The geese are mean when protecting a nest but here it is even more dangerous to meet up with a swan. The canals are small and the swans have been know to break arms with the huge winds when attacking.
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[…] Here at The Cedar Journal we have our own March Madness. In years past it has been awaiting the first day of the season to place the canoe or kayak on the water. Looking constantly at the perfect day in the forecast, the location we first want to explore, and checking supplies. You can read about those past adventures here and here and here. […]