News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2007


Canoes reveal a lot about relationships

A marriage counselor might
do well to hold his sessions in a canoe.

He could quickly learn everything he needs to know about the dynamics of a relationship.

When the current slows, does the couple relax amidst the mossy boulders and hemlock forest or do deep-seeded issues arise over whoís steering the boat?

When the water churns swift and white, does the couple work together or fight against each other and careen off the rocks?

These were the thoughts I pondered after we pulled alongside a man and woman who were arguing during Huntsville Canoe Clubís annual trip to Bear Creek, near Hackleburg.

The couple was not part of our group. All couples in the canoe club paddle together with perfect synchronicity ... most of the time. Well, at least some of the time.

We didnít witness what started the trouble in the shallow Class II rapid that strains so many marriages. As we began to enter the swift water, we saw a very wet man standing at the top of the drop, grasping a paddle and glaring ahead in bewilderment.

Downstream, we spotted a woman in the front of a canoe, running the rapid alone with the rear of the craft jutting up wildly without its helmsman.

Later, we witnessed the happy reunion when the two-person boat again held two people.

I drifted alongside, trying to think of some comment to smooth the waters. But, when I heard the man growling at the woman, I kept my mouth shut.

He told her it was her fault that he ended up in the water.

She simmered quietly, maybe wondering why she hadnít paddled off and left him to swim home.

Aside from the occasional domestic dispute, Bear Creek is a great place to take your family. Itís calm enough to be relaxing and wild enough to be fun. And in mid-July, it always welcomes both intentional and unintentional swimmers.

Twenty-three club members floated the Tennessee Valley Authorityís dam-controlled stream in boats of all shapes and sizes. We stopped for lunch and a few jumps into the creek at our usual spot on a rocky outcrop.

Meanwhile, the club safety director provided dinner entertainment by demonstrating how to surf a rapid while standing in a canoe and wearing no life jacket or helmet.

But what about the couple who went their separate ways in the big rapid?

We never saw them again.

Hopefully, they arrived safely at the takeout seated in the same canoe.

Scott Morris is managing editor.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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