© David McLain PhotographyWith a steady wind blowing 15 knots out of the northwest, it didn’t take long for the salt spray to freeze on everything — The deck of the boats, paddles, zippers and exposed skin. At eight degrees we should’ve expected it. It...
|Evelia, The Gull Chaser|
I have spent the better part of my life either in the water or on it — I grew up swimming competitively which led to surf lifesaving and triathlons. I then moved on to professional guiding, specializing in sea kayaking instruction and multi-day expeditions. I now look for every opportunity to travel and explore new landscapes via the water. I love the water and in many ways it has defined my life. With that said, I haven't always been able to enjoy the beach. As my wife can attest — I get antsy, very quickly. Sitting and relaxing at the beach is not something I am very adept at. To be surrounded by so much water and not start doing something more active is a real challenge for me. But I have noticed a shift this beach season. It's a rebirth of sorts. I have started to see the beach through my youngest daughter's eyes. And it's amazing. Watching her scream and play in the surf — Chasing the retreating waves into the water and then quickly switching roles, running back to the safety of the sand away from the next round of incoming surf is fun to witness. It just makes me laugh. She is absolutely filled with life. New discoveries happen at every outing. Tide pools with starfish and scurrying crabs are always around the next rock and sea glass and shells are quick to catch her eye. And I know she loves the warm breeze blowing through her blonde hair. She loves it — It's natural and pure. New experiences blend with the familiar, shaping her into the little person she is today. And eventually into the adult she is to become. It's nice to take a step back and just watch. To try and see these familiar things — Soft sand, crashing surf, rocky cliffs and seaweed — As if it were for the first time, again. Maybe that's what we need more of in this life, right? Sometimes it takes fresh eyes, a different perspective to see things clearly. And what better way to look at things than through the eyes of a child?
Finding new life and enjoyment in something I have always loved is a gift. I had temporarily forgotten, that's all. And I thank our newest addition, Evelia, for the reminder. Watching the wonderment of her new experiences is truly special. But watching her translate that enthusiasm as only a child can, is the real gift.
The next time you get the chance, chase after a seagull on the beach. I highly recommend it.
Have you ever had an object or item in your life that you are deeply connected to? And with the very sight of that item you are filled with a sense of excitement? For me, it is a pair of well used, yellow rubber boots. Most would look at these boots and think nothing of them. But when I look at them I see possibility, adventure and ultimately, fun.
You see, for the better part of the last 10 years, I have worn these boots on countless adventures, big and small. They have accompanied me to far flung destinations in multiple countries. And of course my beloved coast of Maine. I have virtually paddled the entire coast with these boots in tow. Always at the ready to keep my feet dry, out of the tidal mud and protected from abrasive rocks. I know it’s not really about the boots, but rather what I have experienced while wearing them. I find inspiration in new landscapes, and cultures. And some of the most influential moments in my life have occurred while immersed in the exploration of coastlines, foreign and familiar, surrounded by natural beauty and dear friends. One of my deepest friendships has been forged during these adventures and I am so very thankful for that. And the boots have been there for it all. I guess it comes down to memories, past and future. Moments in time that have awakened something deep inside me, things that I will never forget and will always long to experience again and again. I look at my boots and I see so much more than the heavily worn sole and faded yellow rubber. I see a history of my evolution as a person. I see growth in both knowledge and worldly experiences and most importantly I am reminded of the quality times that I have shared with quality people. Memories that are boundless and infinite.
Whenever I am sorting gear and preparing for another trip and I reach for the yellow boots, a little smile comes to my face. The potential is limitless — More fun, more adventure and more memories.
I hope everyone has a pair of "Yellow Boots" in their life.