Jan 26, 1995 05:00 PM
by K. Paul Johnson
I've been scratching my head about something lately, wondering
how to explain it. I feel pretty dumb never to have noticed it
before. Here's the puzzle: seven years ago I got in a canoe for
the first time in my life, and was immediately hooked. Within a
week I had bought one, and have been paddling in that, or its
successor, or the kayak I got afterwards, virtually every
pleasant weekend ever since. This was an absolute, instantaneous
addiction, hard to explain other than by saying the moment I sat
down I knew this was where I belonged.
Although brought up in a coastal area and having a modest taste
for the beach, or walks by the river, there was really no
foreshadowing of this obsession that would strike in my mid-30s.
I have imagined that perhaps a past life as a Native American
might be a cause.
What I just realized (after my father's funeral) was that there
may be some kind of genetic element involved. My mother's father
was in the Navy for 30 years. My dad was a ship superintendent
in a commercial shipyard when I was growing up. For many
generations on both sides, my ancestors have lived adjacent to
water. Could some atavistic compulsion have kicked in at a
particular point in my life? Why would I have been indifferent
for so long and then suddenly consumed?
Or is it all just coincidence and probability due to having been
born in a coastal area?
Sorry to pester you all with my dumb questions but this has been
bothering me lately. All theories welcomed!
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