Since about last September, we've had our eye on kayaks. Though it didn't - and still really doesn't - fit into our budget, with the beginning of summer we decided to test the water, so to speak, with one kayak.
I would like to be able to say we "need" kayaks. Pittsburgh is blessed with a number of great waterways, and though hiking through them is fun, some spots can't be accessed that way. Apparently 2nd grade is when the concept of needs vs. wants is discussed at school, so I recently got to look at this question through Hazel's eyes. Hazel's list of Needs includes a tent - above dictionaries and soccer balls and watches and calculators, all of which are hardly luxuries, but still are categorized as wants in her view. Can I justify thinking of a kayak this way?
Still, kayaks are not tents. Tents might, for example, represent a bare-minimum form of shelter. Hazel probably thought of them that way for this assignment, but that doesn't take away my joy at the idea that at some level, camping might be a necessity rather than a desire. Camping is a skill, and a tent representative of it, which implies self-sufficiency and ability to get along without all the other objects we normally have access to in our homes. (The girls used to ask me if we were rich, sometimes, and I would always answer that by any reasonable worldwide standard, we are indeed very rich, no matter how our homes might compare to others nearby.)
Whether it was necessary or not, today we got to test out the new kayak, the latest luxury item in our home. It was a long-anticipated event, and even though we're still a long way, equipment wise, from being able to pack up the family and head downriver together, this is a good start. I still feel like I "need" a new reel mower - the beloved Brill, despite my adjustments last summer, doesn't work, and I have my eyes on Fiskars' Momentum, a new model of mower. But the kayak is something for all of us to enjoy, if only, for now, one at a time, so the mower waits its turn, for a little while at least.