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Mindful : August 2016
One stroke of a paddle propels a canoe about three feet. It takes about 1,800 strokes to travel a mile. So, in the 500 or so miles I’ve traveled by canoe, I’ve pushed my paddle in and out of the water 900,000 times. Sometimes my view drifts off the side of the boat, to the water. And I become entranced by the movement of the paddle. At first, it suspends in mid-air, inches above the water. Now it moves forward, toward the flow of the water. At the peak of its forward thrust, it plunges suddenly down, piercing the water and sending a small splash outward. Before it’s even fully sub- merged, the blade starts a path back- ward. The water responds violently. In front of the blade, waves form, ferociously forcing their way to the side. Behind the blade, a vacuum forms. Water rushes in. Speed builds. Paddling Along, in Microcosm Waves build. They travel up the paddle, creating an ever-thickening wall of water on the blade’s front face. The emptiness on the other side increases. The water struggles to catch up with the quickly forming void. A trace of bubbles and moving water trail behind. The paddle begins to slope toward the surface again, allow- ing the water to release to the sides. Things begin to calm. When the paddle exits the water, it leaves evidence in its wake. The water finishes collapsing in upon itself. It fills the remaining void, sending a small splash upward. The cycle ends. The next is already begun. ● 80 mindful August 2016 Illustration by Min Gyo Chung mindspace notice what you notice Sam Denby is a recent graduate from St. Albans School for Boys in Washington, D.C.