by Harmon Everett
In this 50th Anniversary year of our club, it seems appropriate to both look back, and look ahead
to what might happen in the next 50 years. We had a smashingly successful 50th Anniversary Celebration! Thank you, all around, for all the volunteers, helpers and supporters that made that happen! You know who you are.
We had elections and a Holiday Party! Thank you to the Officers that are leaving
office: Dave Kitson is moving on (hopefully
to lead more trips!), Kenny Pape is moving to Arkansas, and Will Blumentritt is moving from
Vice-Commodore to Fleet Captain. You, and the Officers who are continuing, make this club
work amazingly well!
And welcome to our new Vice-Commodore: Honey Leveen! and new Bosun: Terry Morgan!
In addition to these elected positions, there are two Standing Committees:
Part of what I like about paddling is how it connects us intimately to the Universe in some very basic ways.
Usually not as intimately as these guys are going to be, but nonetheless, connected to the rest of the universe.
Epictetus, the Roman philosopher, is the one who is remembered for saying: You can never step in the same river twice. Things have moved, and it is new and different water.
And it also connects us to the most recent Space exploration. The European Space vehicle, Rosetta, has recently sampled the water vapor being emitted from the comet it is orbiting, and discovered that the water it contains is different than the water on Earth. This totally invalidates the scientific theory that most of the water on Earth had been delivered from comet collisions.
The accepted theory was that the early Earth must have been mostly molten rock, and any water that would have been contained in the rock would have evaporated into space, so the water we have around us must have come to Earth after Earth had cooled, and the most likely candidates were supposed to have been comets, which we know are mostly dirty water ice. But now that this comet has been shown to have water that is distinctly different than water present on Earth, scientists are at a loss to explain where our water came from.
The next most popular theory is that maybe it came from asteroids and not comets. This is a little far-fetched, because most asteroids don’t have much water in them.
| Comet Churyomov-Gerasimenko – Photo by Rosetta
The water it contains is significantly different than the water on Earth.
Too bad, so sad.
The next theory in line, is that maybe chemical reactions amongst the chemicals in the Earth resulted in the water. This is a possibility, but so far, calculations have indicated that it would have produced significantly less water than the amount we know is present on Earth.
So the upshot is, currently we don’t know, or have any good theories to explain, where all this water that we love so dearly to paddle, came from.
Somehow, it is part of the flow of the universe.
There is not now, and never was, a “Balance of Nature.”
The Universe is a Flow.
Entire stars are born and die every day. The second law of thermodynamics states that everything is progressing to more disorder. Uncounted bazillions of neutrinos are sleeting through your body as you are reading this. The northern continents are still rebounding from the melting of the ice sheets from 18,000 years ago. Meteorites and shooting stars add about 40 tons of material to the Earth every day. Volcanoes and Earthquakes change the shape of continents, the oceans erode headlands and deposit beaches and rivers carry sediment to the sea.
We live in a dynamic universe. We do not so much exist in a static state of 'being.' More properly, we
surf PADDLE - the flow of the universe.
Conditions are changing so rapidly that trying to maintain your balance, or get centered, or “be still” is futile. Your balance depends on your paddle.
You better have your paddle in the water and working it.
Looking forward, we face many challenges. Of course, dealing with challenges
is why we have a club in the first place. The club is here to help each other with the challenges of paddling: shuttling, getting equipment together and helping each other learn better ways of paddling, and better ways to configure and outfit our boats.
And to support each other while on the water.
There are new materials coming our way, new boat designs – and stand up paddleboards – what’s with that? There are new challenges to having access to launch and take out our boats, deal with invasive species, and pollution. There is an enormous challenge of what to do about tens of thousands of drunk Tubers choking our favorite rivers, and littering tons of beer cans and trash along them.
We have river resources that need TLC – can we give them enough?
Hidalgo Falls is a precious resource open to the club that I personally don’t use often enough. The San Marcos River Retreat might be sold, and closed to our use – what would happen then?
There is an ongoing discussion within Houston and our club right now about the move to sculpt a large portion of the Buffalo Bayou. Will such a massive demonstration project protect the Bayou? or destroy it? It will never be the same. Then again, it IS never the same river twice. We need to have our paddles in the water, and working them.
I would like to say: Thank You! for electing me to be Commodore for another year. It has been an honor
to be chosen to represent the Houston Canoe Club. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our members, and meeting all the talented and dedicated paddlers that working with the Club has provided. And I’m looking forward to, and hoping you all will join me, in continuing to do so in 2015.
May you always be paddling down river.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your paddle,
and for all the times we see you On the Water,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.