Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Near-Death Experience!


First, it's five a.m. and I'm sitting in my living room watching the sky begin to brighten.  That magical time when night gives way to day and we are renewed by a new opportunity for success.  As I sit here with windows open and only the inside light of a dim lamp, I am listening to the far cry of a coyote's howl as he welcomes the coming day.  All is at peace and everything's right in my world.

Now, on to my confession.  My father sought to teach me to swim by tossing me into a muddy Iowa lake (it was really more of a pot-hole...a small body of water leftover as the spring floods of the Missouri River receded).  Anyway, he only succeeded in scaring me half to death and concreting the fact that I would never be able to swim in any water unless I was able to place my feet securely on the bottom.  This fact has remained throughout my life.  There are those who offer notions that perhaps I had drowned in a past life, but I know my fear is the result of someone I trusted most in my very young life (5-6 years old) betraying my trust by placing me in peril (in my mind at least).

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  My husband and I planned a day of fishing at a nearby lake.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we rented a row-boat for the morning.  It was very cumbersome and we decided after a few hours (with no fish) that we had had enough.  As we departed the resort my husband said he would like to take a look at the public launch which we did.  We had our canoe on top of the pickup and decided we would try our luck with it.  Now here is where things begin to go bad.  This particular lake was created by a volcano millions of years ago and is very deep.  We rowed across the lake (you know there are always more fish at the farthest point from where you are) and fished for an hour or so.  My husband caught a very nice trout and we rowed out to the middle of the lake where he proceeded to clean the fish.  I saw the speedboat coming and quietly said 'there's going to be a wake'.  My husband did not see or hear the approaching boat and the driver passed very close to us, flipping our canoe over backwards.  Things move in slow-motion as one faces mortality and I remember knowing I was under water and thinking I was going to die when a hand grabbed my shirt and pulled me into the sunshine.  He stayed calm, telling me we had to turn the canoe over, which if any of you have been in this position you know is nearly impossible.  Adrenalin, I'm sure, is what allowed us to do just that.  I suppose this is a good place to tell you that my floatation device was one that you could wear or use as a seat--I had chosen to use it as a seat and when we flipped it went to the opposite side of the canoe.  I'm in the water, I'm hyperventilating, we are in the middle of a large, deep body of water and I know I'm going to drown!  Panic is NOT my friend!  My husband continued to talk to me, telling me it was going to be alright.  The canoe was floating just under the surface of the water and I was able to sort of hold onto it as my husband towed me and the canoe to the far shore.  This took an eternity and by the time we got there I had slipped all the way from the front of the canoe to the very back, about to lose my grip altogether.

The people who swamped us didn't even come back to see if they could help.  Another boat eventually came to see if they could assist us and my husband asked them to take me back across the lake after they helped empty the canoe and got it ready for my husband to row it back, somehow we had been able to keep one paddle with us.  They were nice enough to stop out in the center of the lake to retrieve what gear had remained floating after the swamping.  (Did you realize the little styrofoam cups they package fishworms in float?  Our worms were returned to the wild once we reached dry land.)  We lost our rods and reels, my husband's knife and his prescription fishing glasses, but I lived to fish another day.

As soon as we got home we put the canoe on Craig's list and sold it to the first person who called.  A new Sony Cybershot camera was in my shirt pocket the entire time and I thought it was ruined however several weeks later it came back to life and is working like new.  I guess this might be a commercial for Sony.  Here are a couple of shots of the lake taken from the row boat--I failed to get any photos from the canoe.  I'm just happy I lived to share my day of fishing with you!


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