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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Tate

The Next Buoy

When Bruce and I were newly married we went kayaking on the Guadalupe River with our friend Mike. Not at all adventurous, this was me as a young bride trying to participate in something my husband loved. All went well until I got over confident and attempted to “surf” in the waterfall (all 4 inches of it) and the water turned my boat sideways and I proceeded to flip upside down. Terrified, I felt like I was rushing down the river upside down. It was utterly disorienting so I grappled for control. Flailing my arms I grabbed on to something that stopped my momentum as I hoped Bruce was on his way to flip me back upright since I didn’t know how to roll a kayak back up. He was trying to turn my boat over and between his turning of my boat and me contorting my body sideways, it turned enough for my lips to reach the surface for a gasp of air. The next tilt of the boat he yelled at me to “LET GO!” When I was back upright, he asked me if I had been holding on to something and I said “yes” to which he replied “WHY???” My reply was “Because I was stable!”

“You would rather be in control and die??” was his final question. Well. Obviously.

As a risk averse person I evaluate and mitigate everything. For everyone in my family. As much as they can tolerate.

Fast forward to the Loop.

So many things on the Loop are not things I can control. The weather, the wind, the waves. Our entire trip is dependent on things I cannot do anything about - I just get to respond to the situation - moment to moment. Today the morning started foggy, we waited awhile, checked the weather apps, listened to the Coast Guard broadcast, and talked with some locals. We made the decision to head out as it looked like it was going thin out a bit. Most of the run today was a little foggy but some of it was like pea soup. In those times, we turned on our radar, navigated buoy to buoy, tooted our horn every two minutes until the fog lessened and we could see again.

I like to know the ending of movies if they are at all suspenseful or sad. I want to know all the things about getting from point A to point Z. I think I want to know so that I can feel prepared. But the truth is I can’t and won’t know every detail about the path or the ending. My dad used to tell us “you make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time.” What I didn’t realize growing up is how many times that is sliced and used in a day in life on the water. I get just enough info to take the next step, to see the next buoy. There's a lot of trust in believing that the next buoy will show up and patience to quiet the voice rising that wants to see more.

Just enough. You get just enough to move forward.

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