At first it is the thrill of the unknown, and the element of danger. Especially on slides like the Leap of Faith, but also the Serpent, which is a mostly dark tunnel you traverse in an inflatable ring before being shot out into a sort of river-like tube that goes through the shark tank and finally dumps you into a shallow pool. After maybe the second day of full on water sliding, the thrill changes to the fun of the expected; you know the rush of the initial descent, the turns and the types of waves and water you will encounter.
Then, quite unexpectedly, the water slides, at least for me, became zen-like experiences lasting either a few seconds or a minute or two depending on the ride. On the Leap of Faith, the speed blurs all surroundings and once the fear is gone there is only the sense of water, sound and light blending together for a few seconds. My mind, which no longer needed to think about whether I would survive the slide, became calm. This was even more pronounced on the Serpent. Maya, Ben and I would each ride in our own inner tube, and I would go last (because my entry made the biggest wave for them to ride). Sliding through the dark twisting tunnel was relaxing – like a quick meditation before leisurely watching sharks and fish swim nearby.
I was thinking today that there are probably many opportunities for ‘moments of zen’ in our lives, if we would allow ourselves to take them. Walking to the store, folding the laundry, waiting on or riding the subway; but all too often our minds are busy moving on to the next thing we ‘need’ to be doing. Here we’ve had nothing we needed to do, so my mind allowed itself to rest. If I take nothing else with me back to the frozen north (high of 23 tomorrow – brrrr!), I hope to be able to take the memory of absolute calm, even if it was only for a few seconds.
I’m probably not doing a very good job explaining this. I wish I could re-create the feeling in words, but that is beyond my skill as a writer, I think. Needless to say I did not expect to find calm in the midst of what are supposed to be thrill rides.
Tomorrow we head back to the frozen north.