July 08, 2007
View from a canoe
Although my parents' camp is located on a river so big that it serves as a border between our country and the country to the north, their peninsula of oak trees is tucked into a bay filled with acres and acres of cattails. Their end of the bay is shallow, with layers of muck that support weeds that grow rapidly in warm weather and float to the surface in golden green clumps. The big powerboats and jet skis prefer the deep water of the river, so most of the time we have the bay to ourselves.
From my parents' dock, we can canoe along the eastern edge of the bay, past big grey rocks and summer camps, and then cross over to deeper water, working out way out to the opening between islands that will bring us to the deep current of the river. But my favourite path is southwest, over the thick weeds and lily pads, through creeks that wind through the marsh. Traveling by canoe means being eye level with turtles and snakes, feeling surrounded by cattails.
One day this week I paddled up into the creek with With-a-Why, following my parents, who were in another canoe. We fought the wind the whole way, but then coming back, we simply put our paddles in the boat and drifted peacefully, looking at water lilies as we floated by. Another day, I went canoeing with my brother and got caught by some rain. When the rain ended, the clouds began moving across the sky, a shifting pattern of blue light. Out on the water, it's impossible not to notice the sky, the most dramatic part of the landscape.
With so many members of my extended family at camp, it's easy to find someone who wants to go canoeing, but sometimes I like to slip out by myself, in the early morning, usually, or sometimes in the evening when the light is just right. I put a big rock in the bow of the canoe to balance me off (a small child or dog can work just as well, although a rock has the advantage that it does not squirm or bark). I'll paddle up close to water lilies, always following the edge of the cattails, or put my paddle up across the thwart and just drift peacefully.
My parents are in the green canoe, and that's With-a-Why in the bow of the orange canoe.
Posted by jo(e)