Trinity River Camp Out and Mindfulness Exercise

by Eric R.

One of the outcomes of the cancer that was discovered on my tongue last year, then excised and radiated, is that I began meditating regularly.  At Stanford where the radiation was delivered, an eight week course in Mindfulness is regularly offered.  I took it twice.  During the first session I became convinced that meditation is a powerful practice. During the second I began to do the practice, and so to enjoy the uncommon delight of noticing and keenly perceiving the wondrous interest and beauty in which we always live,

Paddling down the Trinity River this past weekend with 8 other members of my whitewater canoe club,from Steel Bridge Campground to Junction City, was an opportunity to be mindful.  Floating along in my solo boat was, I realized, like watching a well-done nature film.  From my spot in the canoe, a rich array of natural treasures passed before me.  Sometimes dragonflies would hover just overhead, their blurred wings shimmering as they darted about.  Distant views of forested slopes and ridges alternated with the thick willows and alders crowding and overarching the river. Trees miraculously grew out of steep rock walls  At times Don and Karen or Eric and Arvid pulled close to shore to snatch clumps of grapes off the vines that grew right into the river.  It was fun to follow Eric and Arvid when they wove through foliage hanging near the bank.

Better than arm-chair travel was the adventure afforded by sitting in a boat.  Breezes, scents and splashes gave the experience a sensuality rare in living rooms.   And the frequent appearance of rocks and rapids, most capable of capsizing my chair, added suspense.  And then, when the movie ended, all of us gathered in the kitchen to share pasta and stories, mostly true.

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