I’m lucky enough to live in Skaneateles, New York, home of the eponymous lake that is among the cleanest in the US. It’s also one of the most beautiful (in my opinion) bodies of water I’ve come across. There are few things I enjoy more than getting out on the water, especially in my kayak. It’s a retreat, a place where I can go when I want to spend some time alone, listening to the water slapping gently at the hull. I can close my eyes, sense the gentle rocking and try and hold myself still for a moment and feel the sun warming the top of my head and my shoulders. And then I’m back again, pushing the paddles through the water, feeling the muscles in my chest and arms flex, relax, flex, relax in a steady rhythm. I watch the houses and the docks along the shoreline pass me by. I see my destination growing closer, looming larger ahead of me. When I reach the park in the village I’m no longer alone as families picnic, people walk their dogs and tourists snap photos from the pier. I hear them talking, but cannot make out what it is they’re saying. It’s the steady beat of the paddle in the water. I turn the kayak back into the wind, and this time I cut across the waves at an angle, feeling the gentle roll as I pass across them. Cold water runs off the blades as they come out of the water and the wind blows them onto my face, chest and legs. It’s refreshing and I welcome the coolness as I push forward. I wheel in and out, around buoys testing my control over the kayak. At the end as I come into shore I hear the scraping of gravel from the beach against the bottom of the kayak. My arms are sore, I can feel a bit of sunburn on my shoulders and sweat on my brow and upper lip. It was an hour well spent, paddling around a little piece of heaven.