Unforeseen difficulties 
the Cape Falcon Kayak winter/spring Update

This winter began as most any other,  with a giant sigh of relief as I settled in for some much deserved time alone with a fishing pole,  pouring rain,  and endless miles of solitude on the river.   I woke to a familiar rhythm,  darkness,  coffee,  the cold and the wetness,  the rumbling engine of my one-ton chevy,  a three mile drive to the put in and then sliding my kayak into the water in the dim twilight of morning.   Stop, step out,  walk quietly,  cast,  reel,  step sideways,  cast,  reel,  step sideways,   back in the kayak,  another rapid through fern dripping canyons,  and another bank shaded by drooping cedar boughs,  stop,  step out,  walk quietly,  cast,  reel,  step sideways..... and so on in an endless meditation,  until,  and it may be hours or even days until,  one of those magnificent chrome colored anadramous mutants,  the steelhead trout,  slams into my lure with twice the gusto as you could ever expect from a fish it's size and starts to peel line in an often successful attempt to break free.   Splashing wildly and doing it's damnedest to wrap every log and rock in the vicinity,  landing one is much more complicated just reeling and tugging.    In the throes of battle I've gone so far as do dive into the river and swim a rapid with the pole in my teeth rather than break off a hot fish that mistakenly thought I wouldn't be willing to follow.

This is how I spend my winters,  and it's a perfectly good life,  one that needs no additional complications.

So one might wonder why on earth I ever agreed to let my dear friend Elizabeth take me snowboarding.   Despite the bourgeoise trappings of snowsports,  the actual experience was beautiful.   Riding the chairlift eye to eye with frosted treetops,  the anxious moment of transition from lift to slope where you pray not to eat shit and create a pigpile of frustrated skiers.  Buckling in,  and then turning the nose downhill with the swooping thrill of acceleration.    Elizabeth said she'd never seen anyone take to it so naturally,  and within a few sessions I was hot on her tail,  streaking down the mountain at inadvisable speeds.   I tried in vain to catch her,  and I can only assume she stayed ahead to avoid the embarrassment of being seen as the companion of the dreadfully unfashionable snowboarder wearing a kayaking drysuit.    Hey,  snowboarding clothes are expensive!   Elizabeth and I had five marvelous sessions together,  and I was beginning to wonder how and where I was going to add such a time consuming and expensive hobby to my life.    Fate has a way of rescuing us from ourselves though,  and it was on the last run of a beautiful clear day,  with the sun setting red across the white hillsides,  that the inevitable occurred.    I came slicing to a halt at the bottom of the mountain,  turned backside and didn't quite switch my edge hard enough,  and BAM!  I slammed my entire weight down on to an old and very serious sacro-illiac injury.

I knew it before I knew it.   Life was about to get complicated.    

SI injuries are especially bad because there is no good way to really isolate the movement in the joint.  The body tightens the surrounding large muscles in a vain attempt to splint the injury,  which may be a good physiological response elsewhere, but actually exacerbates SI hypermobility.    It's a be-careful,  wait-and-hope sort of injury,  and the next few weeks found me flat on my back just praying that things would tightnen back up enough that I could at least work.    When I could barely walk again I took stock of my situation,  and began the triage.  I needed to focus on what's important,  and do everything I could to minimize any extraneous movements.   

They say there is a silver lining in every cloud and in this case it was the imperative to truly clean my shop for the first time ever,  to reduce the dozens of trips back and forth,  walking in circles,  and bending over all day long.    While I'm not thrilled about the motivation,  I am very pleased with the result and my workflows are cleaner than they've been in years.

With a lot of help I barely managed to get prepped for the first class.   Heading up to the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend,   I was really nervous that I wouldn't be able to teach.   Thankfully,  the hip held together just enough that with careful movement and a lot of rest I was able to do what I needed to do and we built six beautiful boats in six days in this idyllic shop and setting.  

Heading home,  next up was a commission for four custom F1's.   A gentlemen from conneticut had ordered them for himself,  his wife,  and two daughters.     I was quite taken with the notion of boats for a whole family and felt priviledged to have the honor of building them to suit each person.    I also felt fortunate for the infusion of capital,  physical therapy is expensive!    Again I was worried that I wouldn't be able to pull through,  but with lots of help and very short work days,  we got it done.    

While I struggle with my newly crippled status,  my fiancee'  Lee continues to rise to her own challenges,  transforming the Nehalem River Inn into a farm-to-table restaurant that is recieving rave reviews.   Talented and fiercely hardworking,  she's a source of inspiration for me and I encourage anyone who is in the area to stop in for dinner or brunch.   Here I caught her taking a catnap,  and I'm sure she's going to kill me for posting this picture!

Spring on our farm means mud,  and sprouts,  and lots to do.    New interns have arrived and I sometimes wonder if intern is short not for intership but rather interment!     We just finished building a 20 x 100 foot long greenhouse,  and the list of projects for yours truly is already far in excess of what I could accomplish able-bodied.    Not being able to use my body as I wish has been quite an adjustment,  but slowly I'm getting used to having to have another person shadow me and be my muscles for me.    The worst part really is not being able to run or kayak and therefore not manufacturing new endorphins.    I'm prone to wicked depressions because of it!

One bright spot is that elusive bright spot in our often clouded rainforest sky.   Now showing itself more and more often,  it's stimulates electrons and causes mollecules to vibrate and sets in motion the myriad of solar contraptions that heat our water and power our lights.  It's always gratifying to feel the evidence of my handiwork in the form of a blissfully hot outdoor shower at the end of the day.     So for now,  that is what I look forward to,  and it's a lot to be grateful for.   

Recovery is a slow process but as long as I do actually recover,  I can deal with the pain for now,  and try to not shed too many tears when I limp on the beach and look out at yet another perfect wave gone unridden,  another mile of sand not flying past beneath my feet.   For now I'll have to live vicariously through my students and friends and I ask you to really get out there and enjoy your mobility and never take it for granted.    Until we meet,  see ya around....


Some nice photos from the winter:

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