Wanna uplevel your dance with life?
Kayak Bend Oregon.
No better time than summer to take kids kayaking along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway which begins just 10 minutes from our place in Southwest Bend. This highway cuts a path through the mountains, lakes, and forests of central Oregon where glaciation and volcanism (not at all what Mr. Spock had) formed 150+ lakes this region is known for. In the 30 minutes it takes to drive to one of these pristine waters you’ll see breathtaking examples of lava flows, alpine lakes, and soft grassy meadows.
But for the thin strip of asphalt threading through it, you’d imagine and almost smell dinner cooking at the campfire of such mountain men as Kit Carson and John C. Fremont. All your wildest wilderness dreams come true on this part of the planet, baby!
On the backside of Elk Lake Loop is a lilypad lake called Hosmer. Its beauty and serenity are both stunning and unforgettable. When you visit Hosmer you launch kayaks into complete evening stillness, accept for the passing honk of a pair of Canadian Geese overhead.
After paddling around the lake exploring the lily lined inlets for an hour, the snacks are gone so we start heading back. Only now the sun’s dropped at an angle across the lake that illuminates 3 feet above the water …like a massive, well lit stage.
Where a grand finale is taking place.
Thousands of tiny mayflies perform their great dance of life and one by one drop into the water, motionless.
I learned in high school Zoology (go Bulldogs!), these memorable insects spend a year as a naiad (a little like a mermaid), to be born into their adult form for a single day (think of Ariel, ‘with’ legs, but only a fraction of time to get the guy).
Just imagine it! Embryonic Mayflies watch and wait, day after day for an entire year, their big naiadish eyes pearing up through the watery surface to see thousands of upperclassmen have their day in the sun and then pass on. These larvae fantisize how earth altering their own big day will be, perhaps stepping off a few counts of 8, just a little choreography they put together while waiting…for life…TO BEGIN!
It’s true. Mayflies come from the Order, Ephemeroptera, meaning “short-lived” (literally “lasting a day” or “day-long.”)
Right on their birthday, they’re born, (I know, right?) with tiny fluttery wings and two pointy cerci for a tail. They learn to fly, find a mate, plan a wedding, get married and have babies all in one day before dancing over the water, bustin’ every move they know and collapsing, motionless… not even a twitch.
I mean, how did you feel the last time you finished any ONE of those tasks?
And then their tiny spirit floats off to the happy hunting ground of flying things, knowing the consecration to their purpose was complete. Talk about commitment… These ephemeral creatures don’t dilly nor dally…No sir!
And I thought to myself…and then sang softly .. “Oh, that I were a mayfly.” And then more loudly, “Oh-oh, that I were a mayfly”… “Okay, Cut!” (Isaac, from the back of my kayak.)
We paddled on in smiling silence. But still…my heart longed to fly.
Get a kayak.
Get out there.
And join the beautiful dance of life rockin’ this wondrous world.