Solitude on the Water

beach-3471463_1920.jpg

We live in a world that constantly demands our attention and action – we have chores to finish, apps to check, errands to run, and the list goes on. There are very few moments when I feel truly disconnected – from my phone, from my to do list, and from the constant urge to "be productive". One of the few places I still find solitude and respite is on my paddleboard, on the water.

When I am alone on my board, my mind is free to wander, and life is on hold for just a little while. I stop worrying about the clock. I meditate as I watch the waves pass by, letting myself settle in to the rhythm of my paddle strokes. Sometimes I stop to watch a mangrove crab crawl along a root, or I lay down to float in the sun and just think.

While I love sharing a paddle with friends, there is something special about encountering a dolphin and feeling no obligation to talk about it – only to observe, and to experience. When I am by myself I notice the sounds and the smells, and the tiny details like oysters spitting water from the canal walls. I often feel a deep and meaningful connection with my surroundings, an awareness that I am a part of this ecosystem.

I end my solo paddles feeling more relaxed, more aware of the world around me, and so grateful for the beauty and magic of Southwest Florida’s nature. I try to hold on to that feeling, until I inevitably end up back on life’s treadmill, and then I know it’s time to get back on the water.

Ocean Tribe Paddlers is a club hosted by Sanibel Sea School that helps the SWFL paddling community better explore, enjoy, and understand the ocean. Visit oceantribepaddlers.org or follow us on Facebook to learn more.