ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Master of the Rapids - A True Story

Updated on March 1, 2013
River rapids similar to those in the story. This photo of the Yosemite River in California is by the Hubmaker.
River rapids similar to those in the story. This photo of the Yosemite River in California is by the Hubmaker.

On the Kennebec River in Maine

The river crashes through the gorge, sending white spray into the air. Kayakers shooting these rapids hope they aren’t splattered and broken against the rocks. Fragments of kayaks wrapped around the granite are a testimony to those who didn’t make the passage.

From my post on the river’s edge, I could spy kayak racers as they rounded the bend upriver and appeared at the entrance to this most challenging stretch of whitewater.

Most of the sportsmen were young and athletic. The crowd ooh’d and ah’d above the roar of the river as they banged from one rock to the next, fighting to keep their crafts parallel to the current.

The source of this current is in the streams which feed Moosehead Lake in north central Maine. The outlet of that enormous body of water begins the flow to the Atlantic.

Tested by the Rapids

For years a kayaking club has had an annual competitive event on the Kennebec. The summer I was photographing the river for a film, they chose the most notorious section as part of their race. The torrent rushes through a series of granite rocks strewn across the riverbed.

With a movie camera and tripod set up on a boulder along the bank, I panned to follow the action as kayakers struggled through the whitewater, one by one.

Most hit the rocks with their kayaks and bounced against them. Some nearly overturned. They fought fiercely to stay afloat through the most dangerous rapids. After one lost the battle with nature and had to be pulled out of the water, I turned the camera again upriver.

A Different Kind of Kayaker

A white-haired gentleman kayaker appeared around the bend. I wondered how he could make it past the dangerous rapids when younger, more vigorous racers had failed. Watched through the camera viewfinder, he appeared calm, even serene. He sat straight, relaxed and alert.

The focus of my filming had been to show the daring of the kayakers and the risks they took in this stretch of whitewater. Their struggle against the force of the river as it threw them to the rocks proved their skill and courage.

Then the older man guided his kayak easily through the rush of roaring whitewater. He glided between the rocks in the riverbed with no sign of struggle. I was dazzled by his effortlessness.

But I was looking for action shots, and as my camera rolled I thought, ‘that’s a waste of film.’

A Dawning Realization

Later, while reviewing the footage, I ran and re-ran that segment as the realization dawned on me that it demonstrated something beyond skill and courage. The white-haired man kayaking smoothly and confidently through rough waters became a metaphor to me of the way of mastery in life.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Emanate Presence profile imageAUTHOR

      Gary R. Smith 

      6 years ago from the Head to the Heart

      An insightful comment. Indeed our response indicates our mastery. I enjoy that you enjoyed! Thanks for stopping by.

    • GClark profile image

      GClark 

      6 years ago from United States

      Interesting article. Totally agree that it is a great metaphor on mastery of life. In my view Mastery of Life is supported by your attitude and expectations based upon experience. Thanks for sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)