Kayaking provides valuable conversation time

I love sharing the joys of kayaking with my family and friends, and I recently had the pleasure of kayaking with my sister, Michelle, and my two nieces, Kaitlyn and Emily. While the girls had kayaked before on vacations, this was Michelle’s first kayaking voyage.

For simply picking a date on the calendar, we were blessed with a warm, sunny day with barely a breeze. I was thankful because good weather would make for an easy paddle for Michelle.

We launched from Governor Nelson State Park on the west side of Lake Mendota, offering Michelle and the girls a distant, yet stunning, view of downtown Madison, the Capitol and the UW-Madison campus.

I made sure Michelle was comfortable and showed her how to use her paddle, and then we just started to move slowly south along the shoreline. We paddled and talked, making our way past Bishops Bay Country Club toward Middleton.

Talking is so easy while kayaking. On the water, we don’t have to worry about distractions from the television and radio, or interruptions from texts and emails or phone calls. And in this case, the girls were far enough away that we could talk about topics that didn’t interest or concern them.

Usually, when Michelle and I see each other, it’s at family gatherings, and there’s a lot going on with 12-20 people conversing in various groups. It was nice to have this quiet time together.

“I’m sorry if I talked too much,” Michelle said at one point. 

“There’s nothing to be sorry about. That’s what this time is for,” I said.

Kayaking is an ideal time to talk in confidence, sharing the burdens on our hearts, easing our minds, connecting in a way that is sometimes challenging to do during the busyness of our days.

We continued our way back and forth across the lake. Paddling was nearly effortless on the calm water. The girls were so far ahead of us at one point that they were just little dots of orange. But it felt safe, like we had this giant lake to ourselves on this gorgeous day.

I enjoyed the time with my sister and nieces, having fun and catching up in our orange kayaks on Lake Mendota.

“All the general heaviness in the world right now really weighs a person down so getting out on the lake was like an escape,” said Michelle.

I’m glad I was able to provide that escape through a peaceful day of kayaking and conversation, and I’m happy Michelle enjoyed her first-time paddling.

“I can’t swim well and was afraid of the deep, dark water,” she said. “Funny though, I forgot all about that because I enjoyed how peaceful it was out on the lake, and it was nice just to be visiting with you.”

All three agreed, “We’d love to go again!”

I was hoping they’d say that!

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