Mid-Winter Muse Over

Since relocating from the Rockies five years ago I’ve been struggling with winter. Hitting the slopes loses its appeal in eastern North America when temperatures plummet to arctic lows. Snowboarding outside of the Rockies isn’t quite as exhilarating.  Out of sheer boredom and finding reasons to avoid shoveling snow I decided to clear 2593 photos off the memory card of my camera. While sipping coffee I came across some lost pics of when I was training my dog, Princess Leia (yep- Star Wars fans here), to ride on the paddleboard without dumping us into the river constantly. On a warm July evening the waters of the Ottawa River were pleasant and refreshing so we got our gear on and set out for a paddle.

She was pretty skittish at first, but we managed to get the hang of it after about an hour of paddling around. Leia is a Blueheeler, or Australian Cattle dog, and although she loves the water she’s not the strongest swimmer. Between the life-jacket and paddleboard she was pretty excited when I pushed off the river bank. The board provided her with plenty of opportunities to practice cannonballs into the water and then clambering back aboard spasmodically, which essentially involved us both swimming. Then there was the paddle. In Leia’s canine mind the paddle represented a large stick, to be attacked and chewed or thrown for her fetching pleasure while I struggled to use it for its intended purpose, all while maintaining balance on the board. We eventually figured it out. It helped that all the jumping, swimming and playing wore her down enough to sit on the board and enjoy the ride. I’m fairly certain that she only remained still long enough to grab a few pictures. Since this excursion she has been on the paddleboards numerous times and we’ve got it pretty dialed. She was becoming a paddling diva of sorts, reposing languidly upon the nose of the board, near the end of the season. It remains to be seen if that will still be the case when the ice breaks up around here and the boards are pulled out of storage. I guess I’ll find out this spring.


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