Words By: Danny Gariepy
Eddies are a safe place, they are a place on the river where you can stop and collect yourself. Usually you start a run in an eddy. It is a place where you can get out and scout what lies ahead. A place where you can chat with your paddling partners, or just take a minute to enjoy your incredible surroundings. Paddling a river is all about successfully navigating yourself to the next eddy where you can share in the stoke of what you just accomplished, or the nervous excitement of what lies ahead.
I have talked before about how paddling and rivers are a perfect metaphor for life. When you paddle a river there are many twists and turns, moments of pure joy and moments of fear. Sometimes everything works out exactly as you plan while other times things can fall apart. Sound familiar? We experience the exact same feelings as we go about living our lives. There are good and bad times, happy and sad times. Times where we are on top of the world and times where we are at the bottom and couldn’t imagine how things could ever get better.
Just like on a river, we have eddies in our lives. Times where we can stop and have a break while making plans for what lies ahead. In literal and figurative eddies I have met many people. Some have merely been acquaintances that leave a small blip on my radar, while others have become some of the most important and meaningful people in my life. The same way that we meet people in eddies, unfortunately we also say goodbye to others. Although this part of life is the most painful, it always serves as a good reminder. We are not here forever, and although the rapids ahead are frightening, I think it is more frightening to never experience what lays downstream.
We dont paddle rivers to sit in eddies, and that’s not how we should live our lives either. People’s opinions differ and that’s okay, but I believe that I may only get one shot at this life, and I definitely don’t want to let it flow past me while I sit in an eddie. We need to take chances, put ourselves out there and open ourselves to being hurt, as well as to being loved. When things don’t work out we learn from it, we get back in the boat and try again. It might be safer to sit in an eddy because nothing can happen to you, but maybe nothing happening is the scariest thing of all.
Who knows what lies in the rapids ahead, but whatever it is I am excited for it. I am excited to share experiences with others and I am excited to learn. Most importantly I cannot wait to see what I find in the next eddy.