Thursday, September 2, 2010

The White Water Fear

As a child, I didn't have many fears. That I inherently remember anyway. I was always the cautious, calculated type, so perhaps that's why i don't remember my fears. I never participated in things that would allow my fears to have the best of me. But that's besides the point. There was one fear, instilled at the ripe age of 3, that I will probably take with me to the grave: the fear of white water.

I was 3. And my parents had this grand idea to go canoeing with a big group of people. There was just a slight problem. The river was at flood level. Meaning, a once calm flowing river, was now a raging white water river. Atleast in my memories that's what it looked like. I still can remember our exact surroundings. There was this little wooden shack at the edge of the river, and we had all parked up the bank a ways from the shack. The man helping us got us our canoe, slid it into the ranging waters, and helped hold it as we adjusted. I sat in the middle, dad was in the back and mom was in the front. We set off. For some reason, my mom decided that she needed to stand up. Now, I'm not sure if you've ever been canoeing, but standing up in a canoe is typically not an easy feat, especially if the water you are floating in is moving at a rapid pace. The next several moments are kind of blurry for me. We tipped over, and what ensued was, I am sure, complete chaos. You see, lucky for me I had my vest on. But even that vest couldn't keep the river from sucking me under and sweeping me downstream. It wasn't like I was swept away very far. We're not talking Colorado white water here. But nonetheless, I got sucked under. I remember people screaming. And I also remember being swept into the banks of the river and getting caught up on a tree or bush of some kind, and my parents coming to get me, along with the other hysterical people in the group. From that moment forward, I have shuddered at white water. And honestly, before I was a freshman in college, I was fearful to even step foot in a canoe in the middle of a still pond. In fact, my next brush with a canoe wouldn't come until I was 12 at family camp. A friend (or maybe it was a family member, I can't really remember) convinced me to go out in the canoe. Whoever I was with thought it was hysterically funny that I was freaking out, and decided to rock the boat. Literally, I screamed like a girl has never screamed before, and am pretty sure I gave the entire camp a good laugh.

I eventually got into a canoe on a river, but it took a while. And this fear is why it's so funny, and utterly ironic that I married someone who was a white water raft guide and absolutely LOVES to kayak. Just the thought of going white water rafting makes me kind of hyperventilate. I'm pretty sure I'll never do it. Or if I do I'll die trying due to the immense amount of stress it would put on me. And so my friends, fear of the water, the whitewater, is the fear I have brought into my adult life.

Want to share about your fears? Check out this week's writing prompts and the other participants over at Mama Kat's blog!

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