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When we launched our canoes into the Little Niangua River, we had to paddle to scooch across the first pond below the bridge, but fairly soon the paddling quit.

Looking ahead we could see the water sloping downward. Like a flat table, tipped, like a slide sloped, the water angled down from us and around a bend.

The front of the canoe was now lower than the back, and we sped down the river  quickly now, with little effort, silently and smoothly slipping along the surface.

It was a soft, slippery,  smooth run down through the green trees along both banks. We quit paddling; we ran fast.

Then the river turned and in the corner we sped up even more. The smooth water ran rough here; the canoe suddenly scraped the bottom, aluminum grinding on pebbles, and then we wacked the paddles into the water hard  to scoot on through the turn and avoid smacking into the bank.

Out onto another smooth pond we glided, and we there we returned to dipping our paddles gently into the water again to propel the canoes along.

Slop, slide, slop, slide — with a familiar and constant rhythm we made our way through forested turns, past old, dead logs, along grassy, green banks shaded over with drooping bows.

Paddle, float, paddle, float, paddle float –  life has a pattern running through it, a smooth and rough, a smooth and rough, smooth and rough, float and paddle, float and paddle, float and paddle.

I am noticing something. I think that maybe many of us tend toward paddling too much.

We tend to push. We fixate on the rush. We power forward. We compete. We seemed to have an anxious, urgent need to get there.

But …  I think that perhaps getting there is over-rated, especially when we don’t really know where “there”  is.

Perhaps enjoying the paddle is the main thing, and floating,  down the so very nicely prepared slopes, the main thing.

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