Thursday, November 19, 2009

the last paddle?

If I told you all all about my long paddle up the Grasse River yesterday, would you wonder if there is anything going on in my life besides a)kayaking and b) construction & remodeling?

The bridge project and the road project do occupy a large chunk of my thoughts. As I tap away on my laptop, shuddering noises invade my living room. At 6 a.m., six days a week, someone turns the key in the ignition of a very large piece of machinery, and another day begins with a sputter and a rumble.

I step out of the front door into a world of hard hats, orange vests, swinging equipment, and the acrid scent of macadam. I step out my back door, and I am engulfed in a world of ladders, table saws, extension cords, exposed rafters, the swift whack of a nail-gun, and the wonderful scent of fresh lumber and sawdust.

Yesterday I found escape when I bundled up to take a long walk in the sunshine. By the time I made my loop back to the Stone House, I was warmed enough to discard my outer layer. In a split-second, I grabbed my paddle from the porch and ran the obstacle course to reach the town dock (one industrial hose, two new curbs, fresh pavement which was very sticky, piles of green re-bar, and bulldozer tracks that were 12 inches deep). There, my little green kayak awaited me. The drag back and forth across the street has been abandoned, and I brazenly leave it perched on the bank near the dock. I mean, who is going to steal it while all my construction buddies are in the hood?

"You're not going out there today, are you?" questioned one of the men as I maneuvered past him.

"You bet I am!" I countered.

The strong autumn sunshine lured me past the railroad bridge, around the bend, through the whispering yellow rushes, and on to Cow Island. I call it Cow Island because it is a long, narrow pencil of trees and bushes that follows the shoreline where cows graze. My kayaking buddies know the place well.

The cows were nowhere to be seen this day. The trees were stripped fairly bare from last week's rains and winds. Nothing stirred but a squirrel nudging his way through the forest floor. A lone crow cawed in the distance. The sun's rays warmed my cheeks. The plash of my paddle intruded upon this idyll, compelling me to be still and drift. I loosened my the scarf around my shoulders.

If you cannot join me on the water, whether you are far away (as a few of my best kayaking buddies are!) or busy with the regular demands of life (like, say a JOB), or you can't imagine yourself climbing into a tiny piece of plastic and setting off into the watery horizon without a care in the world, I hope you can feel what I felt yesterday as I floated on the Grasse River along Cow Island in Madrid, New York.


Anonymous Laura said...

Wish I could have paddled around Cow Island with you. Miss you and kayaking.

9:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home