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
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
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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