The adventure of outdoor travel is no longer considered a normal part of life for a majority of the country’s population. Yet buried deep inside all of us there remains a desire to tackle the challenges that such adventures once provided.
Recreation, which comes from the Latin ‘recraere,’ means to regenerate or refresh. In some way, water-based recreation causes us to revert to a slower pace and it returns us to a gentler place. Aristotle considered contemplation to be the greatest form of recreation. He believed contemplation was a luxury achieved only during the leisure hours.
In some inexplicable manner, water sooths the human soul, it relaxes us and engenders camaraderie. Naturally, water makes us refreshingly civil, as it should, since nearly two thirds of the human body consists of water.
For some odd reason, water makes us friendly. On the lakes, boaters always wave to each other in passing, even if they don’t know each other. It is a happy medium. Oddly, the folks who regularly wave to each other on the lake all summer would never dare to make eye contact while in the intimate confines of an elevator.
On the water, we naturally look after each other. If someone appears stranded, and the cover is removed from their motor, boaters will flock to their aid like ants to a picnic.
On the water we are all equal, sharing a precious natural resource and enjoying good times. Yet the same folks who were willing to help others on the lake will be ready to duke it out back at the dock as they jockey for position in the parking lot. It’s difficult to understand how friendly waves can change so quickly into a one-finger salute, but I’ve watched it happen time and again as soon as our feet meet pavement. It is difficult to understand why a return to civilization causes people to become instantly uncivil and toss common courtesy out the window.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.