The cool morning air brushes my bare legs as I snap the last paddle together. The mist makes its final ascent as the sun warms the air. Other than a few shore birds and a lone fisherman, the waterfront is quiet. My husband, John makes his way down the rocky embankment and sets the tandem kayak into the still water. He settles into the rear seat while I take the front.
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We heard about the difficulties of paddling a tandem kayak--also nicknamed a divorce boat. Despite the warnings and fear of clacking paddles, we decided to give it a try.
I grip the cool paddle, feeling the resistance as it cuts through the water's surface. I set the pace; we are in sync, harmonizing our paddles, keeping perfect time. The azure sky is a beautiful contrast to the jade-green tree line. Clouds billow and tumble along as if to say, 'follow me'. We paddle in anticipation.
Going tandem requires cooperation. Tom Holtey says in his article on tandem kayaking, "...being patient with your partner, and communicating are the keys to a successful and enjoyable paddling experience."
When paddling tandem, the power of moving forward is multiplied, resulting in more speed, less effort, pure joy. Sounds simple, but it's not. Like being married--it may look easy to an outsider, but those in the trenches can attest to the energy and hard work required. Marriage, like tandem kayaking, assumes that you are going in the same direction, working together and have the same goals. Trust is essential as you listen and yield to one another. In the front seat of the kayak, I can't see behind me. And, while in the rear seat, John can't see beyond me. So we need to communicate clearly as we paddle together.
"The water is rushing fast." I say, turning my head so he can hear me. "There is a tree down on one side and rocks on the other."
The rushing current demands careful maneuvering as I yield to John's experience--"Stop paddling...paddle steady...hard on the right." Working together we make it through the swirling current to the calm water on the other side.
Going tandem is a depiction of our relationship. We've been married for thirty-one years and have gone through many rough waters together. Similar to our kayaking, we have needed to learn to yield to one another--to match pace as we have dealt differently with life's challenges.
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Jeanne Doyon, Crosswalk.com Contributor