Monday, July 6, 2009

Have you ever wanted to be invisible?

I was invisible just last weekend. I wanted to take my canoe out for a paddle. Usually when I go paddling I go out into White Rock Lake or up White Rock Creek away from people. But last weekend it was too windy. The wind was blowing steadily from the south at about fifteen miles per hour with gusts to twenty miles per hour. A south wind on White Rock Lake means a fetch of four miles for the waves to build up. There were big rollers for White Rock Lake—maybe eighteen inches from crest to trough.

Now waves that size aren’t much by most standards, but between the waves and the wind, paddling my solo canoe was going to be a lot of work. I’ve been canoeing a long time and if I stayed alert and was careful, then I should be safe from tipping.

But I didn’t feel like working, and I never feel like getting wet. So I went down to the lake in the morning and went away to wait for better weather. Better weather didn’t come, so in the evening I went back to the lake and decided just to paddle up and down the shore for a little exercise.

There were dozens, maybe hundreds of people in the park. They were picnicking, walking, riding bikes, running, fishing and many other activities. As I cruised up and down the shore, I realized that no one, at least not adults, saw me. The earth and water were different realms and as long as I didn’t threaten to come ashore, then I was automatically ignored. Once and awhile I could feel eyes sweep over me without pausing and knew that I was still invisible.

I canoed by a large family group staging a tug-of-war, by an older teen trying teach six young children how to fish, by a couple being a little too intimate for a public park, and many others and nobody saw me, except the children.

Little kids would stop and stare wide-eyed as a paddled just a few feet away, too young yet to have learned not to see.

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