Annie balances the boat

Otherwise known as “Why I Live at the Beach.” Seriously, I don’t mean to sound like a beach snob, but it was 9:00 a.m. On a Thursday. And we walked there. Well, I didn’t walk, obviously, but it was an extremely short ride in the beach wheelchair.

My friend, Michele, and her daughter, Annie, took me out kayaking. At first, we weren’t sure we were going. It wasn’t the calmest day we could’ve picked, but I voted to go for it. Michele had a day off. Annie was only in town for another week. The stars were aligned.

Getting past the breakers

Once we made it out past where the waves were breaking (I was instructed to lean back,) it was smooth sailing. Annie swam out to us and climbed in the middle of the two-person kayak. I have no idea how she did this. It took place behind me and I was scared to turn my head for fear of tipping us over. Suffice it to say, she slipped in the boat like some kind of Navy Seal.

I, on the other hand, was given a paddle that sat uselessly in my lap after I demonstrated my paddling skills – wildly slapping the water or grazing it enough to make forward movement very difficult.

Free to simply enjoy the ride I said, “It’d be perfect if we saw some dolphins.”

And what do you think happened next?

Michele and Annie spotted three dolphins. My eyesight’s so poor, I hardly ever see them from the shore anymore. I know they’re out there, because people have tried to point them out, but they’re usually too far away. We must have been 10 yards from these three. Close enough to hear them breathe.

Float time!

Returning to shore didn’t go quite as smoothly. We tipped over in a wave and spilled out. But I didn’t mind. Even when snow skiing, falling was my favorite part. Besides, I was wearing a life jacket. Michele and I played in the surf. She was looking for the hat she’d lost when we capsized. I was trying not to drown. Swimming in the ocean is probably something many of you take for granted. I don’t anymore.

It didn’t escape my attention that the date was October 4th. Exactly six years since the brain surgery that saved me. Not a bad day, or way, to celebrate life.