Water: Love and Danger

Picture of Beth kayaking during the winter on Lake Superior, near Grand Marais

There is incredible power in water

By Beth Poliquin

Most people have their “happy place” in life and for a lot of people that’s right here on Lake Superior’s North Shore or in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. For me it’s less specific: I’d rather be on the water. Sure, I have my favorite places, but I’m fairly equal opportunity when it comes to water. I used to love getting to have dinner on my dad’s ship as a kid in Norfolk, or running white water rivers in Virginia and West Virginia, or surfing Hawaii’s waves. From my earliest memories, there’s something about being on the water that speaks beauty and freedom to my soul. Water is life-giving and life-sustaining, it’s always different and always the same, it’s to be enjoyed, but never to be taken lightly.

There is incredible power in water. In this power there is an element of danger. The inherent dangers in our natural world and in most things worthwhile (athletics, animals, or even opening yourself up to a relationship) shouldn’t keep us on the sidelines of life. Instead we take precautions, try to make smart decisions, and prepare the best we can for emergencies. My intense love of the water is what makes our Kayak Safety and Rescue Class so important to me. In fact, I started taking steps to make this happen over a year ago.

This area inspires people to be outside. There’s so much to do and we’re certainly not hurting for beautiful water. Get out there! Enjoy it! But what happens if you tip over in your kayak? Or someone you’re with does? The first time I flipped in a kayak was in a pool. I love being on the water, but I don’t love having my head underwater. Practicing rescue skills in a controlled environment gave me the confidence to go out on rivers and lakes because I knew what to do. Wouldn’t you like to know what to do?

Every time I’m out, especially on the Big Lake, I’m aware that the water is NOT my friend. I’m going to revel in her power and beauty, but with all the respect due her.

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