Taste the Flow

The whiff of greenery tops the pleasant breeze that directs the water flow beneath the boat and tickles the skin like wisps of hair. Movement is fluid from the edge of the toes to the blades of the shoulders. Floating to the stern, the front end of the boat, dropping the blades in the tranquil stream, pushing the footboard with accelerated pressure to pull the oar handles towards the chest and admire the ripples streamlining fervently. Drawn in the natural serenity, rhythm conquers the anatomy, and the brain strays from cognizance. Sculling in daylight or sweeping in the twilight, omniscience is bewildered in the grasp of the bigger picture: flow. The essence of rowing will never descend.

Oftentimes, a workout consists of one constant, one variable, one factor — or coordination between set constants. There’s no flow. That constant(s) is an ongoing motion, reflex, or movement stored in memory that doesn’t portray a rhythm. A forehand or backhand swing in tennis. One foot in front of the other in running. Simultaneous kicks and arm movements in swimming. The alternating pattern between swimming, treading, and throwing in water polo. The setting, bumping, and spiking in volleyball. Dribbling and shooting in basketball. Rowing transcends these bounds, there’s a flow in its motion. Rather than the concept of mindless repetition in running, deliberate speed in swimming, choppy motions in tennis, or intervals of motions in water polo — rowing selects one ongoing flow from the stern to the bow with an emphasis on power. The power is implemented inside the boat and manifests externally on the water. Power equates to speed outside the boat and maintaining the elegance and swift, yet slow, motion inside the boat. The flow. Of course, there are diverse speeds in rowing, shedding light on the acceleration in motion — yet, rowing thrives on the flow it maintains despite the external speed. When floating into the frontend of the boat, slicing the oars into the silky water, and swinging back to meet the oars at the chest, one flow and ratio is maintained throughout.

A stroke is incomplete without its flow.

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Fatima Khawaja

Exploring the many domains in life. Student, writer, scientist, woman, explorer.