Our world has ever increasing demands. Gone is the 40 hour work week. Now you either are looking for ways to get more hours in order to provide the necessities (and luxuries) of life, or you are wishing for a lessened work load in order to enjoy those same necessities, and well, luxuries of life.
Quotas, increased sells, cut backs in order to maximize profits; they all have a burden on our mental and physical wellbeing. One friend, who purchased a portable blood pressure monitor due to hypertension, noticed a pronounced increase during work. In fact, just walking in the door at the start of the day would cause a jump of 20 or more points. There is no wonder heart disease and strokes are such competent killers.
People often think of the beach or the mountains as perfect relaxation destinies. Why? Both are as close as many people get to nature. Visions of decades past remind me of beach trips in which my family would take a three day weekend. As an only child, I often would have a friend or three tag along with us. One day was always spent jumping the waves and trying to build sand fortresses that never could withstand the onslaught of the incoming tide.
During the evenings we would walk the boat ramps and piers. We would carry along makeshift nets on long broom handles and pride ourselves in the various crabs and small fish we could quickly snatch from the waters. Each fish was different and we had little hope of identifying the two inch long water breathing creatures of the depths.
One day would be devoted to bottom fishing from the boat. Daddy would find some underwater structure or anchor near a bridge piling. After hooking a piece of bait shrimp to the two hooks on the bottom rig, we would submit to dropping the line down beside the boat only to reel it back in just seconds later with a fantastic golden fish grunting on the other end of the hook. It just wasn’t the same unless that croaker would chirp like a bullfrog when it landed on the deck of the boat. We never tired of that noise.
When making another trip to the coast with the family at the request of my daughter and her friends, I could not help but think of those days. I put together a rack for the Chevy Suburban and loaded the kayak once again, searching for the relaxation needed after a hard week of the real world.
I decided not to target anything too difficult. I just wanted to wet the line, sit back in the seat of the Old Town Predator, and enjoy the gentle rocking of the waves and the taste of the salty breeze in my lungs.
Early on, I brought in fish after fish as they could not resist the offerings I was providing. Some were large, some were small, but on the rod they all felt like giant sea monsters after the initial pat-pat-pat of the bites.
Then something caught the corner of my eye. Something big was just a just a few hundred feet away, but I could not tell what. To my right I heard what sounded like the pounding of a beaver tale warning any unwelcome guest to get away. Even with a quick jerk of my head I did not see what it was, just the remaining churn of water.
Straight ahead, maybe 20 feet off the bow of the kayak, I was able to make out what it was. Two, no three, better make that four dolphins rose in succession ahead. To my left, two more blew air and rolled in the water. Yet another to my right rose to the surface.
I paddled slowly with the pod for about three quarters of a mile. They happily swam beside me, in front of me and behind me, encircling the kayak. I forgot about fishing and relished in the opportunity to join their ranks.
Old sailors used to note the dolphins as protectors and friends on the deep blue. For nearly an hour they released all the pressures and demands upon one man’s shoulders.