Life Lessons Learned from a River

Last Saturday, my kids, Connor and Allyson, and my friend, Kate Bakon, and I went whitewater kayaking on the Nantahala River in North Carolina. It was a new experience for me and–as I watched the required safety video before heading out–I wondered if I’d be able to make it down the eight-mile stretch of river without getting banged up by the rocks or thrown from my boat. I was afraid. It’s a mild river by most standards with only Class I, II and III rapids but it was the wildest river I’ve ever been on.

Looking back on this adventure, here are the life lessons learned:

    • Keep Your Balance. Whether you’re navigating your boat around large rocks and churning whirlpools or trying to juggle work, family and your health, strive for balance and try not to over-react to circumstances.


    • Go with the Flow. Paddling upstream often leaves you exhausted, frustrated and in the same place you started. When you feel drawn in a certain direction–like pursuing a new profession or relationship–trust in the flow and go with it. Just as important, when opportunities are not emerging as quickly as you’d like, savor that quiet contemplative time–like the smooth water in between the sections of rapids.


    • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. The more calculated risks you take, the more rewards you’ll enjoy. Do something bold today, something that’s out of your comfort zone. You might find yourself as I did–hooting and hollering and smiling all the way. Can’t wait to get back on a river.



3 thoughts on “Life Lessons Learned from a River

  1. Lya Sorano Reply

    Bold? Do something bold today? As a matter of fact . . . I am going to a picnic today. That may not sound like a bold thing to do, but for me it is, because I am not a fan of summer heat and humidity (and it is not even summer yet!), not to mention mosquitoes, gnats, ants, and other outdoor pests. The sacrifices one makes to remain connected to one’s fellow Master Gardeners! 🙂
    Regarding your river trip – way to go, Tricia! My best trip so far this year has been to the Len Foote Hike Inn, above Amicalola Falls – wonderful place, despite the mosquitoes, etc. I wrote about it on my blog,, last month.
    Have a happy summer; I can’t wait for autumn!

  2. Desiree Scales Reply

    Awesome Tricia! Great post and I love the comparison between river and life. Glad you had a great adventure with your kids. You’ll always remember it!

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