First and Last

The hardest part of the year was not kayaking. This blog is about how on Wednesday I had my first kayak paddle of the season and most likely the last kayak paddle of the season.

I don’t have a Dutch drivers license. I am at the liberty of the Hubby’s time availability for getting to a kayak location. After our weekend canoe paddle in the Weerribben I knew needed to find my way into the water in my kayak for a day. Kayaking was my first love and it was part of my PTSD therapy recovery plan. The healing properties of water and nature are well documented and amazing. I needed some “me” time.

My off loaded kayak sitting in the parking area waiting for enough light to paddle.

I arranged to be dropped off at my favorite local lake, the Westeinder in Aalsmeer. We have featured this lake several times before on this blog. It was the training lake where the Hubby and I spent several days paddling in preparation for our BWCA trip, three years ago.

The fall days are getting shorter. The Hubby dropped me and my equipment off at the beach before the sunrise.

Lights along the shore as the sun starts to peek above the horizon

As I waited I had a very friendly goose approach me.

A friendly goose who walked right up to me.

I had enough equipment for a five day trip but the plan was only to paddle to the Historic Garden in Aalsmeer where I volunteer. My first visit to the garden since April.

I always get a bit of a thrill when my kayak hits the water for the first time in a season. I am always a little nervous. The weather, wind, and muscles all have to once again tune into each other. It is like meeting an old friend after not seeing them for awhile. Excitement and also caution as you know it has been awhile since your last solo paddle. Plus, kayaking is not canoeing.

The Aalsmeer water tower at dawn
The reflection of sky and water were just breathtaking.
For the second time in a week. I found myself “In the weeds” as I was trying to capture the early morning reflections.

As I paddled from lake into harbor the sun was changing the reflections and sky as the seconds ticked passed. I pulled around the corner to find the sun putting on a spectacular display of color as it crested above the horizon.

The Aalsmeer harbor with a beautiful sunrise.

In my own special place, alone on the water, I thanked the heavens for health and ability to paddle. To be able to experience this special place in this time, even though it has contained such heartbreak and misery for so many all over the world.

Sky and reeds on the Aalsmeer lake.

As I entered the canal that takes me directly to the Historic Garden I was reminded of my mantra… Carpe Diem.

Pretty much captured my feeling of the morning.
Straight ahead a changed landscape as I looked at the new Lidl building in Aalsmeer.

I silently slowly paddled my way closer to the garden so my arrival time at the garden would be timed perfectly. I knew the garden bridge over the canal opened at 8 am. My timing was perfect as I was greeted by one of my co-volunteers lowering the bridge.

Looking into the Historic Garden
Looking back at Aalsmeer from my kayak as I entered the Historic Garden water entrance.

Pulling my kayak onto dry land my co-worker greeted me and jokingly asked if I paddled all the way from the USA.

My kayak resting at the Historic Garden in Aalsmeer.

I laughed, “nope just from the lake beach“.

I sat and had my coffee then toured around the gardens. I trimmed and deadheaded the roses for the first time this year. Then the day outing was over as the Hubby returned to pick me and the equipment up.

The Hubby driving off with my kayak after dropping at the Schiphol bus stop.

Sadly, this might have been the last day this year I would have an opportunity to kayak. Who knows what the coming days or weeks will bring?

My last thought on First and Last…today 28 years ago my first son was born in the shadow of Mount Rainer in Washington State. Happy Birthday son!

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