The Spirit of Water – Guest blog by Dan Smith


I’m no blogger.   I like pretty colors and moving pictures.  I’m not sure about putting pen to paper, but after I finished shooting our mini-documentary, Margo offered me an opportunity so I thought I’d give it my best and add some perspective to the story we filmed.

I’m Dan Smith, and I’m a filmmaker, a kayaker, and this where I draw my passion for our water:

Once, I was a Mountain Biker. Not someone who merely owned a mountain bike, mind you…but a Mountain Biker. Capitals on both letters. It was all I ever did or thought about. There’s something about plunging down a perfect ribbon of single-track at 30 miles an hour…adrenaline pouring through your veins like pure electricity, every nerve sharpened to a razor’s edge. Every fiber of your body on high alert, your mind so busy keeping your body upright that sometimes you forget to breathe.

In those moments…I was alive.       Mind.      Body.      Spirit.

Life, it seems, has a way of making one slow down. A couple of trips to the ER, and a wrecked back and knees changes one’s perspective. It’s hard to blast down a hill when you have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. So, saddened as I was, I went looking for a new passion. In this new world, without a bicycle as my constant companion, I feared that would never be able to “connect” on that level again.

Fast forward 5 years

From the seat of my NEW ride, I began to see the world from a different vantage point. My kayak embraces the new pace of my life. My kayak reminds me that it doesn’t have to be a race. My kayak reminds me that I am not the master of nature….but really, quite the opposite.

I find the inefficiencies of my paddle strokes to be poetic.  I must give more effort to the water than the water gives me back in distance. Tiny whirlpools form behind my blades, drinking in my efforts. My small offerings to the spirit of the water swirl gleefully in my wake.

On my bicycle, I used moments of thrill to drown out and deaden the parts of my life I wanted to forget.

In my kayak, I have time to remember the things that make me glad to be alive.

From my journal:

“Miles onward from where the day began, the sun begins to paint the sky. On the breakwall, a lone heron stands sentinel. I reflect upon my journey. I contemplate where I am, and question where I’m going.

Vibrant hues of purple, red and gold explode across the water. As another day draws to a close, the heron squawks as he takes to the wing, one sharp bark that echoes across the bay.

The spirit of the water answers.”

It is these fleeting moments….these finite cherished seconds….that I wish upon all people.  One cannot experience the beauty and serenity of nature unless one is within nature.

The water calls to all of us.

Here is Episode 8, featuring our hook-up with Margo on her way to Chicago.


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