Kayaking saved me. Living in Oxford without a car, I felt throttled by the ring road, the city's concrete necklace. I was heartsick, dried up, deprived of nature. At weekends I'd explore the city's green spaces or cycle into the countryside, but I found only sterility: pasteurised parks, perfect rows of rape and wheat, woods picked clean by pheasants. Walking by a stream one day, I realised that the land might be dead but the water was alive. I bought an old kayak for a tenner and dragged it down to the Thames. As soon as I sat in it, I felt I belonged there.And haven't we all felt like that?
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