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The Moment

I wrote The Moment on Tuesday the 17th of March 2009. I played with the words for a couple of days, sent it out to three people for some feedback and then finalised it in the form you see below on Thursday 19th March.

I have used kayaking as my medium for conveying ‘The Moment’, that place in time when everything clicks. I have tried to capture ‘it’ in words to convey some of what I feel when ‘it’ happens.

This feeling does not restrict itself to boating, we all experience moments at all times in our lives, whether it be in work or play. A job well done at work is immensley satisfying. A childs first words or steps will stay with a parent forever. We all seek our moments in different ways and sometimes they arrive when we least expect them or perhaps we are trying something new, for the first time, it clicks and we think, aha! this is ‘it’ this is good. I want to do that again and experience that rush again.

How long does ‘The Moment’ last, well in our hearts and minds I would suggest forever, in real time it could be a second, a minute or much longer. The time I rode Disneyland with Noel, Steve, Eric and Kira, the moment last the entire day, culminating in the car park at Britainia Beach with an ice cold beer from the cooler.

The Moment’ will mean different things to everyone and I guess we will feel ‘it’ in different ways.

For my brother, mother, father and myself ‘The Moment’ lasted an all too short 18 years, so from a father, a grandmother, a grandfather and an uncle, our moments will be encapsulated in the life of a young girl.

Sara Emma Jones – 19th of March 2009
‘The Moment’

When I started kayaking I didn’t realise the impact it would have on me, my life, my mind or my wallet. How can a pastime, a sport or a hobby effect you so deeply? The way in which I conduct my life is goverened by the weather, where it has been raining, where there is water and who is available to go paddling.

I spend my time looking at weather forecasts, forums, e-mailing, phoning and texting people in various parts of the country to find out what rivers might be running over the weekend, hours spent on the internet, researching new places to go and rivers to paddle.

What is it about sitting in a plastic tub and launching into a river that captures us so much? I’m not alone. I see it in others. Not everyone gets ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. Some people go boating at the weekends and appreciate it for what it is, a day on the river with some friemds in the fresh air. To others it’s much, much more.

Bill Shankly the greatest of the Liverpool Football club managers is famoulsy quoted as saying \” some people think football is a matter of life and death, they are wrong, it is much more important that that\”. That comment may seem frivolous to those that didn’t share his passion for the sport and the club he served and loved. Football? I don’t get it myself, but there are those that do, thankfully, filling stadiums every Saturday, leaving rivers for people like us.

Kayaking can be a matter of life and death I guess. I see it very much as a matter of life. Kayaking has given me some of those moments in time that will stay in my mind forever, whether it be a smooth line down a rapid, a beat down, the unique river level view of the world that we all experience when we sit in our boats and see the world from an angle that only we as kayakers will view or time shared with friends having had the perfect day with plenty of water.

Nothing focus’s the mind like a difficult river. I constantly have to re define my brain and re categorise what I percieve to be achievable and that might be for myself or other as I see pictures, read books or watch the latest dvd release.

Some runs will always be beyond my reach. However I find myself tackling harder runs with good people. It is some of these people that inspire me or perhaps know what I am capable of, having confidence in my ability that has led to some of those special moments in time.

The unspoken words on a river can sometimes be the loudest form of communication, a look between two people can convey more than words in isolation. A nod, a wink, a smile, our actions all contribute to the moment. We may be seeking reassurance from our peers or perhaps they seek it from us. Although once I commit to the river I am alone, no one is coming to help me until the calmer waters, my friends are as good as with me in the boat, sharing the moments as I pinball down, support or roll.

I gain confidence from their presence, even though I may be ignoring them, focusing on the task in hand. We know what to do, we have been here before, we have an order and from that order we move our way downstream. Each of us taking it in turns to paddle, support, encourage and be a part of that moment and although the river comes to an end the moment never does, it is there for us to return to anytime we like, I am there now, on a beautiful autumnal day in Wales.

The medium I am using, typing, trying to convey these feelings and emotions can never do those moments justice. Our facial expressions reveal so much about us. These moments allow us to look deep into oursleves and our friends, we see ourselves exposed and that is there for all to see, all being the people that are there with you. There is something truly raw about exposing yourself in such a way, revealing yourself to others in a way that you would only share with a lover if I were talking of sins of the flesh.

My trying to explain it to you may be pointless, unless you have been there yourself, you know, you understand, perhaps if I have to explain more you will never understand. It doesn’t have to be the hardest run in the world, we all seek our thrills in different ways at different levels, the easiest section of grade one moving water for a person new to the sport may see them fight some of the fears that more experienced paddlers face when inspecting something hard and gnarly where a moments lapse of concentration or skill could end in serious injury.

Why do we do it? We need our interests, our time out from the hum drum of life. No matter how we like to think we are not sucked into the maelstrom of the modern world, we are and we know it, the mortgage, the bills, the money that has to be earned to sustain us and what we crave. Every now and again though we manage to take that step back and put oursleves into situations that scare us, inspire us and make us realise how lucky we are to have found something that we can say to oursleves, this is it, this is what I want, this is ‘The Moment’