Monthly Archives: February 2013

Can Alligators Bring About Peace of Mind?

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Yeah, they can!

I paddled out on the lake (chanting) with a head full of hopelessness and worry, and saw more wild alligators than I have ever seen in my life. Fortunately they were all smallish (except the last one, it was a little larger and closer than I liked… perhaps 4 feet long, and only about 3 to 4 feet off the kayak). I got a good look at it, perhaps better than I really needed or wanted. Seeing alligators like that is something so primal and powerful that not much that goes on in my busily worried mind can compete with it.

And I paddled in feeling better by far than when I left. Somehow getting up close and personal with dinosaurs (by the way, alligators don’t look a damn thing like birds–I’m just sayin’ is all) clears the mind… plenty.

Speaking of birds, the bald eagles were also out in force, and flying lower and closer than normal.

It’s such a blessing to be living in this house on the lake, without it I’d be falling fast.

Don’t worry, I have no plans to get out and wrestle ’em. The alligators, that is, the eagles are tough to get close to.

I know what you’re thinking: “Be careful Justine, you probably shouldn’t be out there with the alligators,” well, peradventure that is so, but I kinda feel that kayaking in and around Florida’s wildlife is a lot healthier than other ways I could deal with my stress… like, say… drinking whiskey or laying about stewing… or laying about stewing AND drinking whiskey.

I’ll take my chances with the alligators.

Gently Rocked By Birds…

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Mystical moments sometimes sprinkle about me like gently drizzling rain. For days now I’ve longed to paddle out onto Lake Newnan in the kayak, and today the lake was at its glassy best. The rowing was effortless, meditative, and I chanted:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna
Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama
Hare Hare

Though not a “Krishna” per se, somehow this chant is as satisfying as the one I sing to Lord Shiva. And along the way I found one, two, three white feathers on the water, which I gathered to leave on my altar before Lord Shiva. The feathers brought to mind the white snake Durga had left for me, and they seemed auspicious, perhaps a sign of the end of the latest storm violently rocking my consciousness.

I followed the trail of feathers, another, another, another, though I only took three.

At last I floated in among the tall grasses, laid back, and napped as I floated.

Motionless.

Soon I heard the birds across the way take flight, splashing as they do, paddling, flapping, lifting up off the water. Then nothing.

Silence.

Perfect.

I rested peacefully, me and my white feathers, when I felt my boat begin to gently rock, the ripples left in the wake of the birds after they took flight were now rocking me in my meditation and rest. And as the ripples kept me ever so gently rolling, rolling, and rolling I realized how long it had taken the flock to take off.

I’ve never been gently rocked by birds.

It was a miracle, resting while the wake of the flying birds reminded me to breathe easy and be OK.