Winter at Richmond
by Gavin Turrell

Another winter is here, crisp mornings
and a night that closes in quickly. The alarm goes
off at dawn, still dark and a bite in the air.
Out of a warm bed and quickly moving. It's not
right but it must be done. I know that.

Into the car- out of the car, still not light.
Change and take my kayak and blades to the water.
Mist is rising from the river, the water is glistening
and still; cold and thick. A mysterious kingdom ready to
be conquered.

Off we go, the Kayak and I, cutting through the water, cold envelopes the
face and hands. The rest of the body warm. Ducks cross my path and a startled bird flys from the trees. Another day has begun. One day nearer
to race day. The effort begins. Cold air quickly sucked in, droplets of water stinging. Powering through the early morning mist. Very much alive.

The day creeps away as I launch my kayak once again. A different scene. House lights on, people snug. The night is quiet and lethal.
Shadows pounce as the moonlights provides a silvery glow. Eerie yet peaceful. Beep. The first effort begins and off we go, cutting into the night.

The first competition is always in the mind. This is what all the work is for. The constant darkness, tiring sessions, relentless effort. Laying down the foundations. Thoughts of the first race. It's light, bright and it is going well - a goal, a vision and a line to cross. The watch goes again. Back to reality, back to a cold winters evening.