English professor Heidi Naylor’s essay, “A good paddling: It’s easy to find Idaho’s simple joys from a paddle board on the river,” appeared in the Idaho Statesman on Sept. 9.
It’s an account of a sunny day on Idaho’s Payette River. It begins:
“In a nod to this local-rich and socially distanced summer, I got a stand-up paddle board for my birthday. Today I took it out for the first time, on a wide, slow stretch of Idaho’s Payette River as it winds toward Black Canyon Reservoir.
At the put-in, I kneeled on the board, less in prayer and more to get my bearings, as the glide out was not glide-like. After several minutes, I slipped each sandal off — painstaking process, this — and tucked it beneath bungee cords at the top of the board. Set the paddle crossways and, inch-by-inch, got my feet beneath my hips. Crouching there, I began a wobbled ascent, knees bent and locked as I retrieved the paddle. River water lapped gently over my bare feet as the board mocked and rocked me. A jet ski droned, way too close. Still hunched, I steered into the swell of the river.”