Friday, August 26, 2011


I just returned from five days kayaking around the San Juan Islands in Washington and then visiting Port Townsend, Washington after that. This blog is adapted from the first of four journal entries I made on the trip. I will post the rest of the entries over the course of the next few days.


Every choice moves us closer to or farther away from something. Where are your choices taking your life? What do your behaviors demonstrate that you are saying yes or no to in life?

--Eric Allenbaugh

Today, I embarked on a guided five-day kayak expedition that I book the day after X-man and I split up. We've landed at our first camp site after a rather light day of paddling--three or so hours, 7ish miles. We're in two-person boats, and I'm the only one of the crew who came on her own. I get to share the boat with a lovely seventeen year-old Portland, Oregon high school senior who plays basketball and who's traveling with her father and younger sister. She's amazing. She has traveled to New Orleans and to Oakland to build houses for Habitat for Humanity and has designs to grown up to be an anchorperson. She's also volunteered to be a guest star in the children's television show I'm currently developing, which I had the chance to animatedly talk about while paddling, reminding me that I have a strong connection to a project not yet in full swing. The show has thus far been a public interactive performance in which I teach science to kids through baking and cooking. Sweetie Pie's House of Butter is the name of the show and I am Sweetie Pie.

There's a new bakery opening in Merced and if I get fired for missing Friday's faculty meeting because I'm on the water, I will make a bid to work at the bakery full time, training to do fancy design cakes and revealing my pie secrets. I've always wanted to design and build high-end wedding cakes, so maybe everything will push me finally into that direction. It's not that the job I have now is bad--it affords me plenty of vacation time and is wrought with purpose. But my knees don't tremble in anticipation and I'm not filled with a joyful heart as I prepare to go to work, which was the case when I was working as a baker. Add designing and building edible, whimsical, and gorgeous sculptures to the mix, and I might grow wings and float up to the clouds on my way to the workstation.

But all these mental meanderings are a long way from the shore of Posey Island, where we've set up camp for the night. Posey is one of the smaller of the San Juan Islands and we have the whole of it to ourselves.

When one books an intense trip like this the day after a shattering break up, a relationship that ended with the realization that the bulk of the weeks were full of misleading words and actions on the part of the other person, one is not in her right mind. She doesn't know why, she hasn't thought, "I've always wanted to go on a five-day kayak trip." One is reacting. However, this trip is magical--we spotted a pod of orcas right before our first launch and there's been plenty of harbor seals, weaving their playful bodies up and below the water's surface. We rode some waves created by a big cargo ship and we floated in a thick kelp bed and had a lesson on kelp and were invited to taste it. It tastes like plastic.

But this trip does not heal all wounds--it's a whole lot of work, paddling for hours a day, and a little bit lonely to be away from home while the others on the expedition are here with friends, partners, or family members. But I hope it will help me find my yeses, to hear the strength in them, in the hollow of my heart, and to remember who I am and to begin the birthing process of all I might be. . .

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