© The Cedar Journal, 2021, all rights reserved.
As in most years people are glued to the TV or media screens in the USA to watch the NCAA March Madness, college basketball.
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.
This year is a bit different…
The Dutch government has extended the COVID restrictions now until 31 March. Although the government did make some minor adjustments this last week, like allowing for exercising with four people in a group outdoors instead of two; and adjusting the reservations for appointments to shop in stores, from only two persons in the store at a time so that now it is based on square meters of floor space of the store. All these changes still do not equal normal but they are small steps forward.
Suffering from my own new March madness I have been knee deep in projects. Planting seeds, making clothes and when I ran out of ideas…
I started making bias tape, pot holders and tea towels.
Somewhere in all of that I did my US taxes. Now, that is something that did drive me nearly mad. A simple tax return turned into seven pages! My question to the US Congress is why can’t we streamline the tax code? I gained a few more grey hairs on that week! Plus, I might have said a few naughty words towards Congressmen lawmakers and the IRS.
On top of everything else, I was informed via email that all mail going to the USA from the Netherlands must have a custom form filled out electronically and paid for in advance online. When I say ALL MAIL, even a birthday card or personal letters are now required such nonsense! I would send my Congressman a personal letter of complaint, but it would take four months to get there and now needs a custom form with electronic postage, WTF hassle!
Yup, March Madness has arrived at The Cedar Journal. We hope April brings calm waters and stable conditions for us and all our readers.
What is March Madness like for you? Share your thoughts in our comments below.
© The Cedar Journal, 2021, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
As I waited I had a very friendly goose approach 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.
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.
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.
As I entered the canal that takes me directly to the Historic Garden I was reminded of my mantra… Carpe Diem.
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.
Pulling my kayak onto dry land my co-worker greeted me and jokingly asked if I paddled all the way from the USA.
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.
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!
© The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved
As always it is sad to see the end to another Dutch Open Canoe Festival. Seeing old paddling friends, making new ones and always the learning that goes with new ideas or new techniques.
This year that included learning what each of us considered acceptable risk just to attend. What about bathrooms? Where should we stay as the event brings people from all around Europe and most of all can we still interact with old canoe paddle buddies and still maintain our distance. What challenges!
I will write a detailed blog later this week on our experiences from the weekend but promised two young paddlers that I would post a few pictures. To keep my promise before this old canoe paddler takes a nap to recover from so much excitement over the weekend here you go young people.😊
Best wishes and safe a healthy travels to everyone who attended. Until next season.😊
©️ The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.