I was fortunate to have a mild commute in my four decades of teaching. No freeways, no bridges to cross, no maddening traffic jams or two-hours or more round-trip travel. Instead, it was mostly around 20 minutes on city streets. Sometimes, there was a back-up on a few streets with the clock ticking until my first class and the tension mounting. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there was a scramble for parking at school due to street cleaning and generally some competition for the six spots in our small parking lot, first-come, first-serve. (I always thought my status of elder in the school community might have earned me my own parking spot, but no one else ever agreed.)
So though I had a mild taste of the stress and anxiety most commuters face (often soothed a bit by listening to music or later, an Audible book in my car), it was nothing compared to what most people in the work force experience. Starting the day already stressed out before settling into the day of work ahead and then repeating it at the other end, anxious to get home and kick off your shoes. All of this includes those taking public transportation, beholden to bus and subway schedules and crowded conditions. The things we put ourselves through! Why?
All of which made it yet more sweet to have a unique experience of kayaking to a brunch hosting by some friends back at the Michigan lakes. In my day, I have biked to class in Salzburg (heavenly), ferried to lunch with my parents in Larkspur, walked to a friend’s house for dinner in San Francisco— but kayaking to brunch in Michigan was a first!
And how lovely. The calm glass surface of the lake, the warming sun rising over the waters, the rhythmic strokes of the paddle, at one with the awakening world. Some 20 minutes to reach the other shore, pull the kayak onto the small beach, a short walk through the woods and the table set with huevos rancheros awaiting. One could get spoiled.
After some cornhole and a walk on the big lake’s beach, we kayaked back to get dressed for the long-anticipated wedding tonight. Parking will be tight, so briefly considered kayaking back across in my tux. Wouldn’t that be a sight!
But I think not.