Kayak Solitude
by Scott Shaffer

My kayak slices through the slow backwater rivulet,
leaving swirling sediment. I’ve been here before.
It’s quiet, but not silent—the winding waterway resounds
with chirps, tweets, rat-a-tat-tats, kerplunking turtles,
a flapping blue heron. My soul sings.

Left behind are calendars, lists, electronics, responsibilities.
A fresh summer breeze caresses my face. I’m exhilarated
to be outside, near life-sustaining water! My muscles
relish the light exercise required to meander in my craft.
There’s a red fox clambering up the bank, thirst quenched!

The churned-water residue reminds me of my mind:
often restless with news headlines, duties, troubles,
to-do’s jostling for attention, elbowing out whispers
of and to my heart. But today my carping cares
have fallen off like cool drops from my paddle

pulling me through backwoods. My soul senses,
You’re on a mission. But for what? As I marvel
at creation’s masterpieces, I wonder, Do the rest
and peace I feel point to greater Rest and Peace?
If I let my soul sediment settle,

if I seek solitude and silence,
if I cease striving,
if I slow down,
will I enjoy
my Creator
and listen?

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