My boyfriend, Scott, and I are really into kayaking. Every weekend that we can manage to devote an entire day to kayaking includes a trip to a nearby lake. We are lucky enough to live in Northern California where mountain lakes are in abundance. As our good friend and kayaking buddy says, “It is just lake-idy, lake-idy, lake”. Translated, they are everywhere!
Nothing is more relaxing after a hard work week than to get up into the mountains and onto the water. Breathing fresh mountain air into the body cleanses the soul and the tranquility of the water soothes the mind. Kayaking is a sport that doesn’t have to be a sport. There are no winners and it doesn’t need to be a race. If you want to just sit in your boat and take in the scenery as you float above the water you can, no one will judge you for it.
There is another reason why we enjoy kayaking so much. My boyfriend was born with Phocomelia, a rare birth defect that caused him to be born without legs. It also caused his arms to be shorter than average and for him to be missing thumbs on both hands. Kayaking is the only sport that puts us on even ground, well mostly even ground. I like to argue that while my weekly arm workout consists of seeing how many grocery bags I can carry to avoid a second trip to the car, his arm workout consists of daily propelling himself in his chair. My workout fails in comparison, putting him at quite an advantage, but I digress. On the water there are no hills to climb or stairs to barricade entry, the entire lake is accessible and ours to explore, together.
In our kayaks we are equal. If we want to, we can race each other without one having a clear advantage, except of course the one mentioned before (It’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). Side by side, we are equal height. I don’t awkwardly tower two feet above him feeling as if I am a giant at all of five feet five inches. We can easily glide up next to each other and talk face to face or steal a quick kiss.
In our kayaks no one stares, no one knows that he is disabled. For several hours disability is left behind upon the wave lapped shore.