How I experience the river.

Calm before the storm, cliched mind games for sure. Lifing the kayaks onto the shoulder; portage on the side of reason without looking, without turning back to look at the fall so often portaged.

A glance is all that is needed, a line, fine but definite. No definition of thought- the process is far from clinical. It cannot be broken into aspects, into reason without end.

The mind witnesses the window of opportunity the glimpse of a chance and the grasp of the elusive. It is a hit to the heart that is searched for, a hit willing to be taken. Pulling all that is pure into the single moment of time. A capsule of stillness, a perfect moment.

The rapid is run, no dreams lay to rest in that moment it is all open to the elements; the driven form of this illusion we all face. It is open to what we represent in our thoughts as adrenaline. A thought form, a feeling that we cling to. Within the clinging the damage is done. Bravado diverts us from our true goal from the ‘pure’ form we search.

Only seekers understand the processes. The seeker in search of the truth who abandons all thoughts, feelings, mental illusions and perceptions for the perfect ‘pure’ moment in time. A moment when time slips from the realms of the rational thought. Where the mind once filled with images of reason and doubt is cast still. This is the reason to run rapids to go inside the disillusion of the masses to witness a ‘pure’ understanding of the moment between reality and the truth of the real.

The heart now still resting after the rapid run. The exaggerated chatter has subsided, stories told over a pint of ‘best’ relive the tender excitement of the run.

It is a river I have run so, so many times – each time a new experience. Each time a fresh page. On this occasion I am guiding two friends who have dreamed of this river for an age. In their minds they have built the river into a mystical place. Having never seen it they expect the worse. They perhaps, without knowing, place the rapids on a golden plinth they look on in awe. Does this attach too much to the perceived experience? does it divert too greatly from the here and now.

At the end after the dust had settled, after the run out rapid away from the walls that have bordered the experience – it is only then that a conclusion can be drawn. My friends solid boaters and great companions were pushed in this landscape, the mind map perhaps not understood. Visions of a tossed and torn windswept plateau seemed to embrace them.

Questions are always asked; conversations for whatever reason always resonate with the ‘what grade is this’ mantra. These that seek recognition change the grades. they say I am a class 5 boater. they think the world owes them the next big hit, it is this bravado this boasting of pushing the limits that lead to destruction. It is for these that chase the grade – the praise of peers and internalization of ‘one up man ship’ that the ‘truth’ of the ‘real’ experience will forever be out of reach.

We can all have the same fix for thrills if we push our limits. Although this seems not to be the be all and end all. For me like many others the river, sea, still lakes of the earth offer more. Sure even now I run hard whitewater but it is not the heart pounding thrill and adrenaline that I chase. It is the battle within to find the ‘pure’ aspect of the event. This ‘pure’- the magic of stillness- of a perfect moment in time. This is all that matters and it can happen any time/any place.

Personally, it is this must make canyon or the lip of a drop, perhaps the ocean swell or the gentle caress of the paddle against the smooth water that is only and forever a catalyst. Yes it is a required catalyst but it is not the ‘pure’ ‘truth’ as the end game.

No matter what you paddle, be it flat calm lazy days or the heart thumping and raging rapids the truth of the pure-real experience is forever available to you.

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