Road trips can be tricky especially if they are planned in the spur of the moment. I went up north with a few friends this past weekend and even though it wasn’t entirely last minute, it sure felt like a last minute plan. We left on a Saturday morning, not as early as we had hoped, but at least we made our way out of the city.
On the way we had to make numerous stops. To pick up people, food, fuel, and firewood. Going in we had no idea what to expect of the place we got for the night through “Airbnb” (which gives a wonderful alternative to booking expensive hotels and over-priced cottages). Since one of our friend’s had booked it, we had almost no access to the details of the place. We were in for a wonderful surprise!
Getting there was not that hard, even though it started raining much early on in the day and we were a little upset that this would happen on the one weekend we chose to go cottaging. Nevertheless, we made the most of the trip regardless of the weather. It rained on and off the first day but the second day we were blessed with the presence of a blazing sun.
We arrived around one in the afternoon and immediately were greeted by the owners of the place. They were an old couple, so sweet and gentle and full of contagious energy. The old woman gave us a tour of the place. We were surprised by her warm welcome and even more surprised by the little things she had done to make our stay the most comfortable and rewarding of stays. She had left us some things to snack on in the fridge, even a little bowl of candy in the living area (which we would soon devour), she set up the beds for us, and left us all the essentials for an amazing stay. She left in a hurry and let us explore the area ourselves.
Immediately we walked over to the docks and observed the lake and the view. It was cloudy and it was raining on and off, but we stayed outdoors as much as possible. It wasn’t long before my friends started plunging into the lake as I stood there taking pictures.
After a while, we went canoeing and made our way across the lake. There was four of us on the canoe and most of us, (especially me) were afraid it would flip. The lake seemed small from afar but once we got on that canoe and started paddling, we realized how deceiving it was when looked at from a distance.
We made it back and somehow my friends convinced me to take a leap of faith, put on a life jacket and jump into the lake. It didn’t take much convincing because it was something I wanted to do myself. But I’m not a swimmer… in fact, the last time I was in water was when I tried my hand at swimming in my friend’s pool and almost drowned. After that I stayed away for a bit.
So, I put on my life jacket, and convinced myself that it would be a breeze. That the life jacket would hold me up and I would not feel anything except happiness. Wrong! I had never been under water before. Never had I just simply slipped into the shallow end of a pool and put my head under water. I didn’t know the feeling of not being able to breathe. I didn’t know the feeling of slowed movement. I didn’t know the feeling of pressure against your entire body. I definitely did not think this one through.
I ran, and I jumped. And as soon as I jumped, I regretted it. I fell in the lake – submerged. No sound except the sound of my panic. It might have taken me less than two seconds to surface and in that time, I felt an eternity. I felt as though I was in limbo. I knew I was moving up, and I knew that I would surface, but it all came as a complete shock! I surfaced and had no sensation of my legs and arms. The only thing my mind knew was “Get me out! Get me out!” and I slowly turned around to look for my friends who had already surfaced and were content. But their happiness didn’t last long. They soon saw the panic in my face as I tired to say some words grasping for air. I couldn’t breathe. I reached my arm out towards one of my friends and painfully mustered the first words that came to my mind, “Grab me!”
My friends told me to breathe, “take deep breaths”, as they lured me closer to the dock. Once I got a hold of the steps, I began to laugh. And they all laughed with me. Then my mind replayed everything in the last few minutes and I laughed a little more. I could not believe that I had taken the plunge, but even more, I could not believe that I had panicked. Why did I panic? I was wearing a life jacket!
I stayed in the water for a bit. My friends forced me to get comfortable with it. They told me to let go of the dock and to allow myself to just float in the water with the support of the life jacket. It took a lot of talking to and convincing myself but I jumped again, and then again. Each time I came up knowing that someone would be there to watch my back. I no longer felt the shock and uneasiness I felt the very first time I jumped.
This whole new experience really got me thinking about how scuba divers must feel when they are under water for so long. How truly slow and small they must feel feel. It also got me thinking about those brave souls that jump off cliffs into water – boy that must be a scary feeling. I also felt proud. Proud because I had done something that I would never have imagined to do. Sure, I told myself I would learn how to swim soon enough and that all of this would be “normal”, but I have never given it a thought that someday soon I would find myself under water. Good thing that canoe didn’t flip over before I experienced this feeling, otherwise I would have surely panicked, and maybe it would have been even worse.
The rest of the weekend seemed more relaxing since I got the adrenaline kick out of the way. We barbecued, ate and sat around in the hot tub for hours on end, until the lightning ruined it for us. Then we huddled under blankets on the couch and talked for hours on end. I fell asleep on and off but it was a very relaxing night over all.