Sunday, February 28, 2016

Social Media

Hello Blog Friends!

It is the final weekend in February and I cannot lie, I am thrilled that winter is almost over.  Now, to be fair, this winter in Maine has been VERY mild.  My plow guy only came seven times (so far) and I think a couple of those days he was just itching to plow; the snow accumulation didn't necessarily require plowing!  But, I LOVE having a plow guy.  I am an outdoor kind of girl when it comes to being on the water in my kayak, but winter is my least favorite season.  I was extra worried about this season because it was the first winter I have spent as a home owner and on my list of preferred activities, shoveling has been at the bottom, even falling below doing dishes and emptying the litter box!  (Yes I hate it that much!)  This winter, again, probably because of its mildness (Is that even a word?)  gave little reason to shovel.  That, combined with the skills of my plow guy, meant that my shoveling requirements included shoveling my steps, a path for the oil delivery guy, and a couple of very small parts of my driveway... plus, I found a shovel that seems to work really well, so it was not as torturing as I anticipated!  No matter how non torturing it was, I would prefer to be paddling!  Don't get me wrong, I have felt bad..well bad may be a tad strong, but I have felt something for the people who really love winter, the ski bunnies and ice fisherpeople... I can see how they would feel that Mother Nature didn't give them what they hoped for, but... I have been more than okay with it!

So what does MaineKayakGirl do when she can't be paddling?  This winter has been busy.  I continue to settle into my house (I love being a home owner!), working -of course and socializing, and have used some of my creative juices to do some painting and am also doing some writing.  Kayaking is one of my favorite topics when I write and also find other topics interesting as well.  I have also spent some time perusing social media and have decided to take the plunge and join Twitter.  I have a lot to learn about tweeting and have been searching for some paddling and sporting goods tweeters to follow as well as some local eateries (After all, what's better than finding a great place to grab a bite after paddling all day??!!)

If you have suggestions of people/organizations who are on Twitter, and who you think I would enjoy 'following' I would love to hear from you.  (Comment here, shoot me an email at MaineKayakGirl@gmail.com, or find me on Twitter @mainekayakgirl , all lowercase letters!)

Since I always include photos in my posts, today I am going to include a picture of me and my mom.

In April, it will be seven years since losing her to cancer.   I miss her every day!  
I owe my love of kayaking to my mother.  I remember when I was in college she called me one day and told me that she had gone kayaking with one of her friends and had loved it. She told me she couldn't wait to get her own kayak and one for my dad, and that she thought I would LOVE it.  I told her she was crazy!  I told her that, in case she had forgotten, my older sister loved trying to tip us over when we went canoeing and that I hated that feeling of being unsteady on the water.  Mom told me that I would not feel that way in a kayak.  I did not believe her.  I also told her I hated the idea of being trapped in a kayak.  She told me I wouldn't feel that way.  I was skeptical, but as the saying goes, "Mother knows Best!"  Mom and I went kayaking together and she was right, I loved it!  She and I would spend hours exploring the shores of the West Branch of the Penobscot River for years to come.  Our paddles became time I truly cherished with my mother.  Not only did we get to have amazing conversations, but got to experience nature up close and personal.  There was the time we had been out on the water for a long time, despite the forecast calling for afternoon showers, and as we were in one of our favorite offshoots we had named Tadpole Terrace we heard the rain coming down the river.  We looked at each other and looked around and started paddling for a large tree that was overhanging the water.  As we positioned ourselves, backs to the shore, facing the water we watched the sheets of rain come towards us.  It was so loud that we could not hear each other laughing as we got soaked!  We kept looking at each other, rain dripping from our hair and chins and just laughing.  The deluge didn't last long, but long enough to get us soaked and get a little rain in our boats.  The sun came back out and we kept paddling.  Dad had been worried about us after the rain had passed and came up the river in his fishing boat to make sure we were okay.  He shook his head when he saw us and told us we looked like drowned rats.  He asked if we were heading back to the campground and we told him we would be back in a while, but we had more exploring to do, and we did!  

Another favorite memory with my mom is that we had hand gestures to use if one of us saw a critter and wanted to stay quiet as to not scare the critter.  We did a lot of talking and sometimes singing as we paddled the river, but when we approached wildlife or entered offshoots we tried to be quiet so that we wouldn't scare off any animals.  One day we were paddling and decided to go into what mom had named "The Trickle."  The Trickle was a very narrow passage that led to a very small pond where we would usually find many frogs.  The Trickle was very narrow, barely enough room to use my paddle to maneuver, sometimes using my paddle to push on the reeds to continue moving forward.  Mom decided I should go in first, and as I carefully moved through one of the corners, Mom was extra chatty for some reason.  When I came around the corner where there is a small knoll, I froze.  Laying just behind the knoll in the very shallow water was a HUGE bull moose.  I didn't know what to do except freeze.  At that point Mom started asking why I had stopped and when I didn't answer, she kept asking... I SLOWLY turned my head and put one of my hands up to my ear with all five fingers spread out indicating there was a moose.  She stopped talking and the moose then stood up!  Oh my gosh!  At that point I was looking UP at a HUGE Moose.  From what I have read, moose do not have great eye sight, but I am sure he could see that something was there.  He looked down at me and slowly tilted his head back and forth and in my mind, I was convinced his antlers were about ten times their actual size!  I held my breath.  He stood for a minute and then walked away, towards the pond and as I exhaled I started moving backwards, as fast as I could. My eyes must have been pretty wide at that point.  Mom had seen him stand up and walk away and she just said something like, "Well, you won't forget that for a while!"  We decided to explore other areas and give that big guy his space.  For a few years after that I was very nervous to enter the trickle... but have done so.  I have seen a couple of other moose back there, not in that same spot or in that dramatic fashion!  
I loved getting time with Mom on the river.  Over the years it seemed we did more and more paddling when I was visiting my parents in the summers.  
When Mom died Dad gave me her kayak, her red kayak.  (What an amazing gift!)  I love having her boat to use as I go on my adventures.  (And rarely let other people paddle that kayak!)  

So... As I anticipate the start of the 2016 paddling season, I think of my mom and am grateful that she gave me the paddling bug which I am now able to share it with other people.  (I have a  second kayak for when I want to take someone with me who doesn't have one, or if someone I know wants to learn how to kayak.)  I am sure many of you have your stories of who inspired your love of being on the water.   Feel free to share them!  

I hope you are all doing well and hope to share many more adventures with you this season!  Remember, if you have a place you think I should visit, please email me! 

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