It was a hot summer day and I needed an adventure, real or imagined. So I launched my ship (well, my kayak actually) at a local lake and opened my imagination to potential escapades.
The Kraken, the huge mythic octopus, was a no-show, which I expected. The lake is very far inland and smaller in size, so the secret underground channels to the sea might not be tempting today, and Poseidon might have other plans for his pet. But one can never be sure when it comes to magical beings, so it is always good to be prepared. However, the waters were calm on the lee side of the lake, which created a perfect breeding ground for the giant octopus. Some of her children were there trying to grab the bow of my ship and pull me down to the depths, but I escaped.
There was a giant mythological bird cleverly disguised as a bald eagle who watched my vessel pass through the waves. Clearly she was considering landing on my foredeck and sharing profound spiritual secrets with me, though she was called away before we could talk. Perhaps a shaman needed her presence for a healing. Then again, perhaps I only needed to see her to understand that she offered a message of freedom.
There were also mud swallows looking out from their nests, reassuring me that should the wild waters sink my vessel they would carry my soul to heaven. Or perhaps they were warning me that danger laid waiting around the bend in the form of Cerberus hiding in the tall grass. I heard the rustle of the bushes and looked up to see a dog head and a possible snake tail, but Cerberus is difficult to see as she often shape-shifts into other creatures. I had been dreaming about rattlesnakes every night, so it is possible that the mythic beast had been trying to reach me. Hopefully the message can come in a dream, since a face-to-face meeting might mean a trip to the underworld, and my shamanic powers might not be strong enough to extricate me this time.
My journey continued past the dangers of Scylla and Charybdis, who I placated with stories and gifts I obtained from Pele, the mighty fire goddess, the last time I was in Hawaii. Pele loves gin and flowers and fruit, especially when accompanied by a song. She gifted me a story and told me to offer rum to the beasts on my journey so they would let me pass safely.
Near the end of my journey the sky turned dark and cloudy, and I battled strong winds and waves, watching the flash of lightning advance toward my vessel. We arrived safely back at shore before the rains started, and I stepped onto solid ground happy to have survived my adventure.
The storm was real, even if the rest of the adventure was mostly not. My ship is a simple piece of molded yellow plastic in the shape of a kayak (well, it is a kayak after all). The sails are in my mind, as I power my small ship with a double headed paddle. The shaft is metal, so sitting in the middle of a lake holding a metal rod makes lightning a bit intimidating.
She was designed to surf in white-water rivers, but happily explores lakes. And while she is light enough for me to slide in into the rack on top of my car without help, she is strong enough to be dragged across pebbly beaches and docks. And she is fearless in the face of Krakens and other monsters, whenever I choose to encounter them.
This is the joy of time alone on the lake. With no judgments or worries to distract me, and nothing to accomplish, I can create adventures galore and come home satiated and inspired. Tomorrow there might be pirates on the lake, or perhaps the love of my life adrift from a storm. Either way, I will be ready.
Dr. Elisa Robyn, a modern-day Renaissance educator and leader, is the author of The Way of the Well, a spiritual romance, and Pirate Wisdom, lessons in leadership. Her eclectic career positions include geologist, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Futurist, and Innovative Mojo Coach. Currently, Elisa is an executive director at Regis University. She holds a Masters degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her most current writings can be found at https://www.ElisaRobyn.com