This Blog

This blog is dedicated to explorations of spirit, life, adventure, and people. I hope that it encompasses much more than the actions of people, but rather creates a more complete picture of what it means to be an athlete and a person in the outdoor community.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


My turn.

It is hard to say exactly what these moments of near death and injury mean in kayaking; whether they are supposed to shed light on something you did wrong or are just an inherent risk is something we may just never know. Some people never seem to be injured, while there are many who are no longer with us, due to both injury and death. There are a fair number of people who I have paddled with who will never step foot in a boat again, and though I have just a small dose of what that may feel like I see how deep the hole goes. Now when I think of friends who are removed from the paddling community, it saddens me deeply to know the pain they must have felt, the emptiness of no longer being able to do the thing they loved so much, and the power they had to move on. I send my deepest condolence to anyone who has been injured or killed kayaking.

It makes me question whether it is all worth it. While it is tragic to be taken from the river, the worse tragedy perhaps is to never have experienced it at all. I don't want to arrive at death with an intact body, because that meant I never used it, I never saw what there was to see, never felt what there is to feel. My friend has a saying: Those who feel it know it. Without having actually experienced it there is no real way to say what it would have been like. And that is what drives me. I will slowly widdle my body away until all that is left is cycling and yoga, and hey, those two things are pretty sweet. I will do whatever I can to keep my body as fresh and alive as possible in this moment, but I do not fool myself into believing that I can somehow stave off injury or death. Both are certainly inevitable.  All you can do is prevent and recover as effectively as possible to remain as fully able as possible.

I went to the physical therapist, Kory Felkner, and he was quite surprised that I had full range of motion and almost full strength. The next six weeks are critical, he said I could start kayaking easy stuff in 2 weeks, but I will probably give it 4 because of a 10 day commitment to a rafting trip on the MF Salmon.

Rehab Begins:
Getting ready for the first ride of the year.
And so here it begins
I have some workouts to do

And I am supposed to take Ibuprofen in the morning and night, do these exercises, then ice my shoulder for 10-15 minutes to reduce swelling. I am also taking Arnica. 

So that is where I am at now. I am cycling again today, up to Spanish Peak, a 25 mile ride that gains a few thousand feet. It is good to have something else that I love to fall back to. I will spend my time on the bike listening to music and a UC Berkeley class, Psych 107:Psychology of Buddhism. 

The view as I leave the house
Who knows exactly what this rehabilitation will mean. My whole life has been flipped upside down in the last few weeks and it seems like my body sometimes asks for a break in a really aggressive way. Now I have to listen. Now I will have much more time to contemplate my future, my past, and mostly this very present moment. I look forward to the challenge that lays before me, and hope I too have the strength to make it through a new person, perhaps a little wiser, perhaps a little stronger. So many people have gone through injuries like this and I pay homage to them as I too walk the journey back to health, realizing that my injury pales in comparison to what others have lost but needs my diligence and attention nonetheless.

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