The Joy of Canoeing

The Joy of canoeing can be described with many words.

Linger.  A word rarely used during the work week.  Tarry, that’s another one.  Rest.  Yes, there’s not enough of that to go around.  Leisure, not much leisure in every day.  Seldom comes the opportunity for awe.  These words however, can be used to describe a Living Waters float trip. 

Taking time to linger and enjoy the river, what a refreshing thought!  Of course, there’s time to swim, time to paddle, time to listen.  The paddle dips deep into the swirling water, and the boat glides forward.  Eyes scan to the left and spot trees heavy with leaves reaching down as if longing to touch the surface of the water.  There is time watch the dragonflies dart and drink.  Time to tarry a bit and listen to the birds chirp and bugs hum.  Time to rest, time to spend in true leisure without the need for meetings and work.  Time to spend in praise and in awe of the Creator who provided this natural place to rest.

Excitement.  This word rarely fits in with life’s ordinary day-to-day activities.  Energized, not a state felt at the end of a typical day.   Awaken, when does physical activity awaken a person?

The Niangua offers excitement with the next bend of the river.  Sure, some parts of the river allow for pause, but other parts of  the river also provide thrilling moments.  Hands grip the paddle and legs lean firmly on the sides of the canoe as the river narrows and the water speeds along.  The heart races as the body braces for the challenge of faster waters.  A bump or two on a stray log or rock, veering left and right, the paddle can alter the course but not completely.  It’s a play between taking charge and letting go of control.  The body is energized with each success, the heart thrilled with facing troubled waters and winning against those waters.  The struggle awakens the senses. 

Fellowship is real and unhindered on a float trip.  Play, it’s not just for kids on the Niangua.  Working together happens out of necessity and out of helpful hearts.  

From the bus ride to sandbars on the river, to camping or bunking at night, there are opportunities for fellowship on a Living Waters weekend.  Canoes are typically shared by two, one steering from behind, and one heading up at the bow.  On slow sections there is time for conversation, time for singing and time for prayer.  Two paddles working in cooperation.  Groups of canoes clump together for play, sharing splashes and soakings with laughter and squeals.   Up ahead someone is stuck on a log, someone has dunked.  No worries as it’s easy to stand up in the Niangua, and the best of people shows, helping hands are everywhere working together. 

Praise, thankfulness, and inspiration, these words also can add up to joy in canoeing.  There is time to praise the Father for His creation, time to thank Him for the works of His hands.  There is time to enjoy nature, time to enjoy people.  There is so much to be thankful for.  God can use a float trip weekend with Living Waters to inspire.  Appreciation for nature can bring a song or inspire an artistic creation.  It can thrill the soul and encourage a family to take more time to be together outside.  Churches and groups can grow together in closeness and only God knows what can grow from there. 

Ahhh, it’s almost time to get the sunscreen and sunglasses ready.  It’s almost time for a float trip with Living Waters!  I’m ready, are you?


Dawn Meisenheimer Lewis