We took a trip down the Nolichucky River today. We did a nine-mile stretch, with quite a few sections of Class III and Class IV rapids. We had a blast, but it also provided a great reminder of how important it is to be in sync with the people–and the environment–around me.
If you have ever been in a raft with multiple people, each with his or her own oar, then you know how important it is to move your paddles in unison. No, we did not learn this lesson the hard way; other than getting pinned briefly on a rock, we did quite well working our way down the river. And the reason is, I am sure, because we were working together.
And the same is true of the raft itself as it moved down the river. The Nolichucky is constantly changing. Since it is a natural river without a dam to regulate its flow, its level fluctuates with rainfall. And since it wends its way through a deep gorge, there are always new rocks finding their way into the river. Our guide had been down the river dozens of times, but each time, he said, was something new. And his goal each time: to keep the boat in sync with the ebbs and flows of the river, allowing all that flowing energy of the river to carry us forward without crushing us into the rock.
Of course, in some ways it’s easier to be in sync on the rapids of a river than in the flow of everyday life. Swirling whitewater gets your attention–and you learn quickly that you can’t fight that kind of force. Nor can you simply “go with the flow” (unless you want to end up on the rock).
But off the river, and in my daily life, it’s a lot easier to think that I need to fight my way toward my destination, or that the best solution is always to strike out on my own, regardless of the actions of others.
I was happy to have such a positive reminder of how rewarding it can be to be in sync.