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Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Seal and a Dragonfly on the Rotsee

     Every year in rowing there is a world cup held in one of the most magical cities in the world:  Lucerne, Switzerland.  Most nations in rowing attend this wonderful regatta because it is usually the last world cup prior to the world champsionships.  In the Olympic year; however, the Lucerne world cup is held second of three and Tracy and I have returned here to race for our third time together at the Rotsee as a lightweight double.  On this course, Tracy has won in the double with Mara Jones, Tracy and I have placed second, we have placed first and I have won the single here the year that she placed second with Mel Kok in the double.  So one might say that the Rotsee has been a favorable course for us.  There is something about the calm conditions, the tucked-away placement and the weight of the water that makes rowing on the Rotsee one of the most exhilarating and pleasant things a rower can do: or at least for Tracy and I.

      When Tracy and I were out this morning, I started thinking of our record here and how perhaps there was something about this water that complimented the way we row.  Then this led me to think of our spirit animals.  Background on the spirit animal: national team member and my boyfriend, Gabe Bergen is well known on the Canadian team for distributing spirit animals to people.  However, you don't just ask for a spirit animal from Gabe, one must earn it.  There are moments or acts or things one says that will trigger Gabe to determine what animal in the world best represents you.  Years ago, when Gabe and I started dating, I earned myself the spirit animal of a seal.  I have large brown eyes, I can be
playful, yet scarily aggressive and I am notorious for not being very sure of foot
on land.  Tracy, on the otherhand, flits around chatting and socializing with everyone she comes across and therefore, has earned herself the dragonfly.  Dragonflies are quick, poised and in every flower's business.

     Now, being from the west coast, I know animals, especially sea animals, to be a very symbolic and precious part of the West Coast Native culture, so I did a little research for this post and found some interesting things as I assumed there had to be more to the seal and dragonfly than being chubby and flitty respectively.  What I found is that seals are the power animal symbol of the inner voice.  Native culture believes that because seals exist both on land and in the sea that they show us there are two necessary things to fulfill our dreams and aspirations.  In other words, we must not only use our abilities to achieve but we must use our inner belief to envision our dreams coming true.  Are not the most successful athletes in the world imagining themselves as champions before they are able to achieve?

     A dragonfly's ability to scurry across water represents an act of going beyond what's on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life.  Do you see the connection to water in both animals?  Also, Tracy has always had a beautiful poise to her rowing and sees herself as powerful enough to get in front and then relax into a melodic rhythm of speed which is reflected in the dragonfly's ability to move in all six directions all while flapping it's wings a mere 30 times per minute as compared to a housefly at 1000 beats per minute.

     So you see?  Perhaps there is something about the water on the Rotsee that appeals greatly to a seal and a dragonfly.  We know not what is to come of the racing this weekend as there are some exceptionally strong crews here in this exciting Olympic year, but it can be said that a seal and a dragonfly have the flow and power of the water supporting them.  Although an unlikely pair, I would believe the seal and the dragonfly represent something of an even more powerful and inspiring duo.

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