Losing Your Mind

Capsizing and Focus

Trying to get unstuck on the Shenango River in NW PA.

I was focused after capsizing my kayak on the Shenango River.

I rounded a turn and saw a large branch, but figured I’d let myself slide off it and be on my way.  But the current had other ideas.  It trapped my boat against the branch and I was over, gasping and scrambling in the deep water.  My lunch and paddle floated away.  Water filled the unsecured dry hatch.  My life jacket wasn’t tight enough; it was pushing up to my ears.

I was totally given over to getting myself out of my predicament.  The mantra from rescue training rolled through my head: “Stay with the boat!”  I grabbed at the edges of the cockpit, now upside down, and tried to find the bottom with my feet.  Nothing.  There was only room for one other thought:  “Jesus!”

Finally I stepped on stones and fellow paddlers helped drag my boat to shore, empty it and round up my errant equipment.  I caught my breath, shaking from cold and fright.   I had to paddle soaking wet until we could stop and a friend handed me her dry clothes.

I thought I knew the dangers.  But I had never imagined them strongly enough to prepare just in case, as necessary on the river.  Now I have no trouble imagining the results of poor preparation.  I lived it.

Imagination isn’t only useful in the “artistic” realm.  God gave us imagination to help us think critically, especially while trying to figure out Plan B in deep water.  My “bad example” has become a running joke in my kayaking group.   Hey, I deserve it!

2 thoughts on “Capsizing and Focus

  1. Hi Ellen, Yes, just goes to show that sometimes experience can’t prepare you for every possibility. That’s why we need imagination! Thanks.

  2. Hi Lora, I have no experience with being in a boat by myself, but know you are experienced. It’s generous of you to share.

    We’ve seen tragedies here by Lake Michigan, as beautiful as it is too. A carpenter who worked here once said, “The lake is to be respected.” It is wild.

    Take care, and so wise what you say about imagination, and I know critical thinking is part of your courses, and Time of Singing too.


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