I will never forget the first time Todd told me he was going hiking, camping overnight, by himself. We were married at the time and I couldn't understand why he wanted to go by himself. I just couldn't comprehend the need to go solo...just married and he already needs to get away?
As the years moved on, he continued the need to camp, as he would say, with "Me, Myself, and I." He eventually started kayaking, as well as camping, for his needed "me time" and it wasn't until I learned to kayak that I understood this need to be alone.
Todd's mind was always going full speed, as mentioned in previous posts, whether it was
full speed upward in a positive way or full speed the other direction. Being on the water by himself provided the perfect opportunity to not hurry or worry as he paddled, opportunity to be still and quiet his mind. These, now day trips instead of overnight trips, became essential to his mental health.
Camping near water was something our family loved to do! We had some wonderful friends with kids around the same ages which created some colorful memories. The mental health of each member of the family had a tune up with each camping trip. It was not unusual to wake up at the campsite and not be able to find Todd as he would be out on the water, paddling through the fog, enjoying the think time with nothing but nature around him.
There are several journal entries of Todd's that reflect on his quiet time on water. Unfortunately, I couldn't put my fingers, or camera, on the entries at this time.
Part of me wants to put some organization to the journals but a bigger part of me feels like that infringes on the personal nature because they are his journals. For the record, I would never remove any pages, write with my pen on a page, or do anything that changes the physical nature of his words. Maybe I just need more post-its!
As our girls grew up and just the two of us continued to camp, we never stopped looking for ways to kayak and enjoy the water.
While I was never as comfortable as Todd being with just "Me, Myself, and I" I am learning. I am learning to take in all the beautiful things around me when I venture out on the water for a solo trip. A couple weeks ago I took a little trip down the Elkhorn. I didn't hurry and tried not to worry. The water was shallow in spots so when I would get stuck on some rocks, I would take the opportunity to snack, take some pictures, or just sit and listen to the creek as it passed over the rocks around me.
There was one instance that I decided to use the "stuck" opportunity to call my brother. (Pretty sure the few other people out there sent some odd looks my way as they paddled by this crazy lady, kicked back, stopped in the middle of the creek, talking on the phone.). True, this wasn't a time I embraced the solitude
but I sure enjoyed catching up with my brother.
I will never know what it feels like to have a mind like Todd's but one thing is true, Todd taught me to look within for the stillness. He taught me, through our countless conversations over the 32 years we were together, to trust, listen, and learn from within myself. He taught me to seek experiences, like kayaking, that provide the environment to be still. He always said he was on a spiritual journey. His journey made him strong and humble all at the same time. I thank him every day for all we experienced together on our journey.