Selection from Eddies for Outdoorsmen

Why I Wear My Life Jacket


     When I first started canoeing I didn’t wear a life jacket unless conditions appeared rather dangerous.  Most of the time my life jacket just lay in the bottom of my boat.   As I gained more experience I began to realize that accidents can happen any time and anywhere.  They often happen when you least expect it.  As I gained experience in reading the water I learned that many hazards are very difficult or impossible to see as you approach from upstream.  Looking back on what you just passed, it’s easy to see the dangers, but it’s not very easy to see what lies ahead.  So I began wearing a life jacket faithfully whenever I go canoeing.  I no longer need to decide when to put it on or take it off.  I just keep it on and I have the comfort of knowing that I’ll be safe even if I fall out of my boat.  And, yes, that still happens.

     This reminds me of the plan of  salvation God has provided for us.  He provides this freely to anyone who will accept it.  I can let it lie in the bottom of my boat or I can accept it and put it on.  I have put it on and I keep it on.  It gives me the comfort of knowing that my soul is safe even when I fall into sin.  And, yes, that still happens.



Selection from Pyramids of Thrush Creek (Names have been changed.)

           Robin loved the way the wet grass sparkled in the morning sun as she and Levi strolled down to the river.  The air was pristine and the sky a brilliant blue.  The rocky riverbed had vanished beneath the smooth water that raced quietly along its winding course.  “It’s higher than it was last evening,” Robin observed.

            “Yeah,” Levi’s eyes were focused on the water.  “It’s flatter than usual, too.  A lot of the rapids will be washed out.”

            “And some of them will be bigger than normal,” Robin added.  “It won’t look like this everywhere.  There may be some new rapids at places that are usually just small riffles.”

            “True.  The river can change so much with different water levels.   I’ve never canoed it at this level.  I don’t really know what we’d be getting into.”

            “This would be great if we had our canoes filled up with air-bags instead of loaded down with camping gear and if we didn’t have any small children along.”

            “Yeah.  That definitely increases the risks.”

            “Look at the shoreline,” Robin pointed.  “All the gradually tapered beaches are gone.  We go right from the steep bank into moving water.  We’ve got bushes growing right on the water’s edge.  It may be hard to find a decent landing if we have to get off the water quickly.”

            “You’re right.  Bushes and tree branches can create strainers—strainers are dangerous.” 

            “So what do you think, Captain?”

            “Hey, I’m not the captain,” Levi’s head spun toward Robin.  “We’re going to make this decision together.  But if this was a group of adults with the skills you and I have, I wouldn’t hesitate.  But I don’t want to put your children at risk.”

            “The thing is, we’re already at risk.  Staying here is a risk.  We have to move out, if at all possible.  We don’t know who all is looking for us.  But we know that now somebody knows where we are.”