Joel Yang: Getting Perspective

Lisa Schell Columns Leave a Comment

Turning to the Water for Perspective
Editor’s Note: The water, no matter where we are or what kind it is, can teach us things.  It can give us perspective. If we let it.  Sunday was one of those days for our friend and colleague Joel Yang, of Stoke on the Water and Village of Stoke.  His daughter Coli – who is amazing – is helping to spearhead the support for Kira Buchanan, a Hood River grom who is facing a big battle with cancer.  We saw this on Facebook and asked Joel if we could share.  He graciously agreed.  LS

Turning to the Water for Perspective

Seeing all these posts of friends all over the world made me itch to downwind all day today.

But things don’t always go as you’d like. Plans didn’t turn out, the weather didn’t cooperate, the bumps started to build, then they got flat… It was one of those days where the weather just couldn’t decide what it wanted to be.

I needed to get out and paddle, it had been a heavy week and there was lots on my mind. I set out and figured it’d do me some good…. As I started paddling, all those funny thoughts come trickling back in…. You’re out of shape…. I still hate neoprene, ugh..booties give you scrappy board feel… Why am I so slow…. What took me so long to get back out… I hate flatwater paddling…just piles and piles of nonsense chatter…. Couldn’t turn it off….

The wind picked up.

I noticed I was treadmilling for quite a bit, but I’m always happy to paddle in rough conditions.

I started to complain again about how this paddle is going to suck coz I just started and now I’m just gonna treadmill…

When it hit me.

What the hell do I have to complain about?

I’m healthy and out paddling.

So what if I’m treadmilling?

I’m sure Kira would much rather be out paddling than dealing with chemo right now.

I’m sure the Buchanan family would prefer being out on the water than being stuck at the hospital.

It really put things into perspective for me and my silly trivial whining.

I treadmilled for a solid 20 mins until the gust let up and continued to punch forward. It made me think about the mental strength it takes to keep persevering through it all.

The wind was fickle, it had some south in it, lots of wall bump, loads of mush, nothing lined up at all…. And I just kept paddling.

I paddled to a point where upwinding wasn’t even bothering me anymore. I turned around and was super stoked to catch a few bumps back to event site when lord Viento decided to gift me with another upwinder. It no longer bothered me.

Today I really felt a sense of what #paddleforkira truly meant.

@kira.buchanan I hope you stay strong and know that this river misses you.

Being out on the water allowed me to hit reset.

I am truly grateful

If you want to learn more about Kira and her journey, and if you’d like to help, please visit her GoFundMe page.
Turning to the Water for Perspective