This really happened last night: Paddling by the island, on the dock side in the channel, I realized my shoulder was hurting, not in a good way, and thought I'd take the rest time and meditate.
Meditating, for me, is inherent in my kayaking, but that's a very specific sort of meditating (active, with music or a podcast, moving through landscape - maybe I'll get specific about that another time. Anyway, trust me: it's meditating.
But I never really do the sitting still, breathing meditation out there. And you can never really close your eyes for extended times. I don't have an anchor. Maybe I should get a little anchor. But last night, I was in some very still water, by the concrete stairs into the water, if you know it. So I tried to meditate. Took out the headphones, set a 20 minute timer on my phone's clock, took some breaths: Got it. Just listening, just seeing, without focus. In my body. Feeling my being.
And then I notice that off in the distance, a man is taking pictures of a lady who is taking off her clothes. Out on the busted up concrete pier, with the city in the background. Nice place to take a picture. Nope, she's not stripping - she's just taking poses with different clothing in different states of being on. That took a minute to figure out, but that was interrupted when the guy saw ME, and my mind switched painfully to his POV: Hey, an old man is watching us do this, all alone in a kayak, with his hands in his lap. Hey, it's my real curse: I'm so empathic and so self-doubting that I imagine how others may likely hate me, automatically. But it's not unreasonable, either.
So then I'm pissed off. I didn't ask for this. I'm trying to fucking meditate, alone. I turn my boat to face the other way and realize that I have been stuck in a thought for a LONG time. Since I noticed the couple. AND I'm angry.
So I take some breaths, and remind myself kindly to return to stillness, and I'm able. I sort of close my eyes, and feel my body, and listen, and exist.
And then I see two ducks fucking.
It took me a second to figure out what was going on - splashing, shapes and - Again, not meditating - Right after I realize that I am seeing two ducks fucking - a green-headed mallard and a grey lady duck with green on her wings - I remember that ducks have spiral, loong penises, and that female ducks have vaginas that spiral in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION because mallards are RAPISTS. GANG rapists.
This has confused me many times because I see ducks in pairs all the time, a mallard and a lady duck, and each time I wonder: why is she socializing with him? Is this an abusive relationship? Why aren't the female ducks banding together? Why all the happy-looking couples on dates?
So I watched. Not meditating. Watching to see if I could see any spiral dicks, wondering if it was a rape or a mating. And it wasn't that bad! He did have one asshole move - on her back, he would push down on her head with his beak as he was banging away, repeatedly pushing her head under the water. I know, gross. But ducks also do not hate water - maybe it's alright? The callout to head- pushing-blow-job-wanters sort of influenced my thinking. I kept thinking, okay, maybe it's mating - but he's a dickhead.
Anyway, after they were done (not long - maybe two minutes, just like humans), they swam over to the shore and hopped up and then, very cutely, cleaned themselves for about five minutes, never looking at each other. They cleaned every feather. Ducks can wash the back of their heads by rubbing it on their backs. It was a thing. Then they both did the little shuddering feather-shake thing, almost exactly like a dog - and then walked off together. They were almost holding hands. For whatever reason, they were looking into whatever woods are on the other side of the sidewalk along the shore. She would look, evaluate, and walk off. He would look in and then follow her. It was slow and interesting - I wondered if they, like robins, they were trying to lead me away from their nest. Then, at the fourth spot, she suddenly flew off into the woods. Would he? I watched, rapt. He did. I laughed. I paddle away.
I paddle past the couple, glad I've been able to let go of my dumb fear, my lame worrying what they think. I paddle around the edge of the edge of the concrete pier, by that sailboat that's been parked there since last summer. Who lives there? Who's boat is that? Then the timer goes off on my phone, reminding me that I have completely forgotten I was meditating.