Posted by Ken Campbell December 16, 2012 0 Comment 1230 views
After the shootings in Connecticut on Friday, I have had a hard time focusing. I can’t understand the mind of a killer who could do such a thing. I don’t understand the tireless efforts of those who insist it was his mental health, or his upbringing, or that society is somehow to blame, but can’t allow themselves to say that the tragedy had anything to do with the gun. I can’t get past the idea that so many children, so many families, are gone, never to be reconstituted, laughter that has been choked off in the throat, held in place and turned to sobs by the simple act of squeezing a trigger.
Yeah, it has affected me.
I have always looked to the water for solace. “Hydrotherapy,” is what I’ve come to call it, and I went for some treatment yesterday. It worked, a little. I’m still a little misty when I think about that morning in Newtown, but being on the water helped.
I put out from Owen Beach and headed over to Gig Harbor. Along the way, I had to work around a tug with a huge raft of logs who was parked at the north entrance to the Narrows, waiting for the tide to turn. The rain was beating down at a steady pace, but the wind was calm. Seals popped up at random intervals to check my progress and eagles circled in the gray sky above, their hyper-visions scanning the water for their next meal.
I pulled into the harbor and up to the dock at the Tides Tavern just as another group of kayakers was in the process of departing. We say our hellos and goodbyes in the same breath and I pulled my boat up onto the dock, got an empty growler out of the back hatch, and walked up the hill to the new Seven Seas tap room. (This is not a review – that will come – but what a nice place!) Shannon filled the jug with a hearty red ale while I tipped one back at the bar before heading back out into the wet.
The paddle across the Narrows back home to Salmon Beach was an easy dance with the current, a progression of course changes and regular strokes on the shifting, sliding water. Near the end, just off of the north houses, a pair of large sea lions altered course and came toward me, huffing and snorting, then dove beneath my hull. I looked underneath me after they disappeared, but they must have gone deep because I couldn’t see them and I never did hear them come back up. I pulled ashore under the house and went inside to get dry.
That one session of hydrotherapy didn’t erase from my mind the horror of the previous day, but it helped somehow. Tomorrow, when it’s time to drop my own son off at Kindergarten, I’m going to hug him a little longer than usual, make sure he knows that I love him, even though I think he gets a little embarrassed when I do that in front of the other kids. I think tomorrow will be different though. I think a lot of other parents will be doing the same thing.

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