I got up before everyone else the other day. I got breakfast ready early and started to prepare.

Matt drove me to the woods near the river and backed up into five feet of snow. I crawled out onto the bank and put on my snowshoes. I pulled the kayak out of the back and pulled it behind me through the trees and snow until I reached the river.

I took off my snowshoes and strapped them into the back of the kayak. I lowered it down into the water, then jumped in after it.

As soon as the water began to carry me away and the free air hit my face, I was home. All was silent except my paddles in the water and the moose running ahead of me. It was cold and perfect.

I floated down for a while and then turned to paddle back upstream. Though the river was calm, it was a good deal of work since I’m out of practice. My arms burned and my breathing was quicker. When I finally arrived back to where I put in, the bank was too high to lift the kayak out, so I paddled around until I found a lower spot. I got out in the mud and snow and lifted my kayak out of the river. I climbed up the snow bank after it and put my snowshoes back on.

It was perfect. I was happy every second.

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It struck me…the whole morning was a journey. It was a lot more difficult than simply waking up and dumping my kayak in the river. Every step and every moment was something I really had to work for. But I was overjoyed to do it, because I so badly wanted to be out there.

On how many journeys in life do I find myself smiling while paddling upstream or trudging through the snow? Probably not too many. 🙂 This adoption journey has required a great deal of my faith, diligence, and choice. I know there are moments along this path that I have been more likely to cry than smile. But as I look back at this weekend’s journey through the water, I am reminded that journeys are worth the work, and hopefully I will start to smile more as I keep walking toward my life’s river.