Two weeks and counting

John and I went out shopping today. That was a big deal for two reasons. One is that it is the first shopping trip of the season in preparation for the crazy canoe ladies to hit the water again in two weeks. But even more importantly, it was the first major shopping trip John and I have taken for over a month. Four weeks ago yesterday he had quadruple bypass surgery. We postponed the canoe trip not knowing how well he would recuperate. I must say I am amazed that at four weeks he is driving, walking 30 minutes a day AND putting up with me drooling over a new sleeping bag (yes, Karen, I want to be like you with a tiny sleeping bag and one that is not designed for subzero weather!), dehydrated dinners and drip dry shorts! He got a new pair of walking sandals out of it, at least! The day he was released from the hospital, May 14th, I asked if they thought I could go ahead and plan my annual canoe trip with Karen. The nurse said: “Of course, you should. You need to do that!” Indeed, May was a crazy month and it seems to have literally evaporated. This major life event in our lives reminds us of the thin threads that hold our life together at times. The fragile arteries of John’s heart, now repaired, are a metaphor for the fragile nature of life itself.
This now lifelong commitment to paddling to the Mississippi River with Karen is a statement of faith and trust in this life we are given. Each day on the river is a surprise. Fortunately, the surprises have by far been mostly good. People helping us and directing us to what we need. The odd sighting of a deer swimming across the rapidly flowing river. The birds, the barges…all are wonderful.
We are fortunate to have the time and the health to do this week long trip. Our bodies may be beginning to cringe at the idea of sleeping on the ground for a week. Our minds have to get around the logistics of getting two women from two different states to the same point on the river that we ended our trip last year. But our spirits soar at the anticipation of what we will learn this year, who we will meet, what we will see. I can’t wait!

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