White Water

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When I was a kid we spent a week every summer near Ocean City Maryland. Many summers, our maternal grandfather would be part of our vacation. I remember holding his hand at the edge of the ocean—giggling and screaming as the salty waves crashed at our feet.

Topsail Beach, NC

“White Water,” we would yell in unison trying to hop over each crashing wave. “White Water!” If we missed the white foam, we felt victorious until the next wave rolled in.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go rafting on the New River near Fayetteville, West Virginia. My husband’s friend is an experienced paddler and had invited us to join him on the water for a day of fun.

As we drove west we watched a strong summer storm engulf the mountains and valleys in grey, yellow streaks of color and fast moving clouds.


By the time we got to the river’s edge, the clouds had cleared leaving clean blue sky, rocks, and water. The first set of rapids is called Pinball falls. As the water and our boat approached larger rocks, and our rubber raft began to twist and pull under our legs, I realized the White Water in the New River  is very different from that in the Atlantic. This White Water had power the small waves of the Atlantic did not.

“White Water,” I thought to myself, helmet on, paddle in hand, trying to stay in our boat as water flew across my body.

My parents live on the Gulf of Mexico. Their homes are surrounded by  light blue water and white beaches. When I visit, I am reminded how calming the gentle roll of the Gulf is – most often, no White Water, just white sand.

BP announced this week that 75% of the oil had been collected and removed from the Gulf. Today, we were told by the FDA it is safe to eat Gulf seafood.

White Water has new meaning, once again.

I am at my desk today—no water in sight. But I can think of past trips to the ocean, swims in the bay, and days on the river . I am grateful for the many opportunities to giggle and screech and leap with delight, in White Water.

What does white water mean to you? 

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