This past week while people in my home town sweltered with high heat and humidity and rain of biblical proportions, here in Maine the weather was in the 70s F during the daytime, 50s F during the night, and dry. Other than those pesky deerflies and midges, it was just about perfect. So I decided to make the most of my day and do some serious kayaking and fishing on 3 nearby lakes: Kezar Lake, Kewaydin Lake, and Virginia Lake, located 2 – 6 miles from my home.
I didn’t last very long on Kewaydin Lake. The wind picked up and the water became very choppy. I love adventure, but when I’m out on the lake by myself with no people around, I don’t take chances. I always wear a life vest, even when it’s very hot and the water is calm and it would be more comfortable to not wear it. In the colder months especially, I keep my kayak close to the shore. If the sky turns ominous and looks like there might be a thunderstorm, I head back to the car. And if the wind produces lots of chop, I also call it quits. Being safe is a lot more sensible than death by drowning, hypothermia or electrocution. (I’m not being melodramatic here.) Fortunately for me, there are always other opportunities to go kayaking on more favorable days.
I decided to try Kezar Lake by the Upper Bay. Much of it is protected by coves and islands, although there is often chop in the middle of the lake or sometimes a lot of turbulence caused by speedboats taking joyrides. But I was lucky. Other than a father and son fishing by the dock, there were no one else around and no boats on the lake, and the water was smooth like glass. It was fun to watch the little boy – about 8 years old – catch and release fish after fish (perch, hornpout (the local name for catfish), sunfish, trout, and bass!), with his dad puffed up with pride at his son’s successes.
I was so mesmerized by the silence, the beauty, the fresh air, and the rhythm of my paddle, I completely lost track of time until the sky turned pink and orange as the sun fell behind the mountains, and the water glowed with the sky’s reflection. I remember thinking how I wished I could have taken my blood pressure at that point because it had to be at a record low; I was so completely relaxed and at peace. It was dark when I loaded the kayak into the car and headed home.
The next morning I headed to Virginia Lake.
This is a bit more off the beaten path and again, I was the only one on the lake. After a few hours of blissful paddling, thick puffy clouds in white and steel grey started forming, and I realized that I’d soon have to leave lest I get caught in a downpour. So I paddled back to the put-out and fished for two 20″ trout who teasingly swam around my boat. The water was so clear I felt like I could have reached down and grabbed them. They did manage to nibble and steal my worms but I failed to hook them. As I packed up, I could not help but think that the past two days had been a huge gift, fish or no fish. I felt a profound sense of inner peace and purity of spirit. At the risk of sounding corny, dumb and naive, it made me wonder why anyone anywhere in the world would seek to wage war or choose conflict, if they could choose this.