In the last two weeks three more Scholars were able to get new kayaks, bringing the total to eight kayaks and one canoe, seaworthy vessels all.
On Wednesday night the expected low temp overnight was to be the chilliest yet this year, which meant the river would be steaming, with a solid bank of fog laying over it, by morning. Taking this serendipitous set of circumstances into account, we decided to “put to sea” just before sunrise on Thursday, so we could be on the water when the sun began burning through all the mist and fog. The three “newbies” quickly got their sea legs, and off we went into a surprisingly dense fog.
As we approached areas where the river widens into a small lake, and the shores became invisible, it was interesting to see competing interests within our little seagoing community. Some wanted to just paddle in the interest of exploration, with no concern for the fog, while others wanted to simply become familiar with their new boats. Still others wanted to sense the independence of being completely on their own. But the overriding desire in each boat was to stick together, to stay within visual contact of each other, to look out for one and all.
As we paddled along, enjoying the sounds, sights and smells of the new day, the occasional difference of opinion between Scholars would come up concerning which way was the right way to go in the fog. Even in the presence of two different, fervently-held opinions, both boats reluctantly went along in the same direction.
I was grateful to be able to witness the sense of community, the sense of trust the Scholars put in themselves and in each other, their insatiable desire to witness our natural environment even before sunrise, and their unending acceptance of the goodness that’s inherent in those around them.
As we neared our destination and the sun continued dissipating the fog, some Scholars took a little time to simply drift. In the water, and in their minds. As they absorbed the peace, the quiet, the space, and the indescribable wonder of being on a misty river at sunrise, I found myself hoping that they’d also realize how much of what they learn everyday in Scholars Together applied directly to their morning’s adventure.
Written and photographed by Jay Langlois, Scholars Together instructor