I strongly believe Sunday afternoons are meant for relaxing. A calm Sunday puts me in a positive mindset to start yet another hectic work week. Without this weekend time to pause, I feel like I’m going into the week already tired and yearning for Friday instead of enjoying each day as it occurs.
Therefore, I protect my Sunday afternoons, sharing them sparingly with only my family and closest friends. My friends Nicki and Doug certainly fit the category of close friends. We’ve been friends since college, traveling to see each other when we lived out of state, raising four daughters between us, and vacationing together. For the past 12 years, we’ve even lived within 10 miles of each other. I won’t say we’ve “grown old” together, but we have certainly grown older!
It was with these great friends that Greg and I got to spend a recent Sunday afternoon kayaking. Unbelievably, it’s the first time we’ve kayaked together. We hang out often—in the pool, grilling on the patio, playing bean bags, sitting around a campfire, playing Sequence (girls still RULE!), biking local trails—I guess we just never made it a priority to go kayaking.
We’d made plans the previous weekend to go kayaking, so we were sticking with it, despite the winds being stronger than we preferred. We met up at the Nau-Ti-Gal Restaurant on Westport Road in Madison, not exactly an official boat launch, but waterfront property that offers easy put in-take out and good food and drink.
Greg and Doug took the sit-on kayaks while Nicki and I took the sit-in ones, and we headed through the marina and bay out to Lake Mendota. It was a quiet afternoon paddle, slow and stress-free with plenty of conversation. We didn’t stay on the lake for long due to the wind, instead turning back toward the bay, where Greg and Doug decided that having a drink at Nau-Ti-Gal was what they needed more than kayaking on this particular day.
Nicki and I waved to them as they pulled out their kayaks and we continued north into Cherokee Marsh.
The lily pads had taken over much of the marsh since I’d visited earlier in the summer, forcing us to paddle through narrow waterway paths until it became a challenge to go much farther north.
I stopped to take photos of the beautiful yellow flowers, curious about them since they were different than the typical water lily flowers that I’m used to seeing on Wisconsin lakes. I did a little research when I got home and discovered the Cherokee Marsh was actually covered with water lotuses.
Here’s what I learned: Both the water lily and the lotus are aquatic plants. They grow in shallow and calm waters at the edge of lakes, ponds and lazy creeks. They both require plenty of sunshine.
The telling difference? The leaves of lotus are emergent, meaning they rise above the water level, whereas the leaves of water lily are found floating on the water surface. Same is true for their respective flowers; lotus flowers are emergent and water lily flowers are floating.
I also read that the lotus flower symbolizes the purity of heart and mind and represents long life, health, honor and good luck. Wow—the lotus is my kind of flower! I wish I could have picked a few to bring home with me.
I enjoyed my Sunday afternoon with Nicki and Doug, a time that gave me an opportunity to explore the marsh and learn about its plant life, a time to talk and laugh with friends, a time to rejuvenate my soul. This Sunday was exactly what it was supposed to be—an unrushed, relaxed day of rest.