Sunday, April 12, 2009

PADDLING CHILHOWEE

CLICK ON PICTURES TO ENLARGE Everything is green around me. Red Buds are blooming on the shoreline and rich, green mosses are covering the ground near rocks and boulders. I found a soft boulder to sit and lean against. A stream is tumbling down the ravine behind me creating a symphony of natural water sounds. These sounds I hold precious. Today, for the first time in my life, I feel old. I have been burning the candle at both ends from work to a remodel project that is taking all my spare time. It has been wearing away at me for the past months and the ten hours a day at work combined with the project are taking a toll. Days off are spent on hands and knees laying slate tile and trying to handle dry wall installation. And I'm not doing too well at it. Plumbing is in there somewhere. None of the above have ever been attempted by me. The pressure of trying to do a good job while learning how to do it as I proceed along are burdensome. Try spending nine hours a day bending at the waist and kneeling on a floor with moments of walking fifty feet to cut a tile and return to the kneeling position again. Do it three days in a row week after week. Ouch; my back! It is with an aching back and legs that I paddled across Chilhowee Lake this morning to this beautiful spot. I could have brought the Gheenoe and saved the effort of paddling, but theres something about this canoe paddling business. I think its the peace about it. No noise; no engine. I really appreciate that. I do, however miss Douglas. He can't come in the canoe because he's just too much weight moving around. If I get back at a decent hour, I'll take him on an evening spin on the Gheenoe. Happy is about the biggest dog I think I would want to deal with in the canoe. Happy is the most loyal, dedicated little dog I have ever seen. She will not leave my side for a moment. Not one moment! When I sit down; she sits down beside me. She is totally committed to me. What a great little companion! She's just a mutt. Just a mutt. But I've never known such loyalty from anyone or thing to match hers. I would like to read a few pages of a book that my friend Paul gave me. I will at some point today. But right now I can't tear my eyes off the view that lies directly in front of me. It is Easter morning and the roads are empty. There are no sounds at all coming from the direction of route 129 across the lake. All I can hear are the sounds of water falling and birds chirping and singing. Spectacular, loud silence! My faithful companion has decided to doze off for awhile. I'm the one who did all the paddling. Bless her heart. This may be the last canoe outing for awhile as I want to visit some places at the other end of the state and that will require the motorcycle. Somewhere in all this "doing stuff" I need to get up to Pennsylvania to visit friends and the one relative I have left. The remodel task has me tied down for now. It won't last forever. Oh, I have a temporary guest at my place. He is a gorgeous Irish Setter. He just showed up. No name tag and no collar. He did have a electric fence collar with a dead battery in it. But no dog tags. Dog tags with contact information is vital to a dogs well being. One would think common sense would prevail in matters of dog security, but then, I'm talking about humans. He is very thin so he's been out on his own for a few days at least. I'll fatten him up in no time. If anyone is interested in adopting him you can contact me through this blog. There will be a reasonable fee as I must get him shots, vaccinated, heart worm tested and neutered. But he is gorgeous, majestic, intelligent and he doesn't just walk. He has a show dog walk. He walks in a stately manner. Where did he come from? Such elegance! This spot on the lake shore is where I tied off the Lowe aluminum boat I used to have a couple years ago. I've been stopping here ever since. Douglas was with me at the time and we walked along the mountainside together when there in front of us were three wild pigs. Douglas was ready to charge but I grabbed his collar to hold him. Wild boar are nothing to fool with for dog or man. They can not be trusted to run away. I'll never forget that outing. All went well as the pigs scurried off into the brush. The important thing is Douglas was safe. A wild boar will attack and kill a dog; given the chance if pushed. And maybe they would anyway if not pushed. Interesting place, "this Tennessee." A favorite flower of mine. (Fire Pink Radially) One more thought: What is it about water that I've been missing my whole life? I wonder why thoughts about water are so valuable to me now. It is soft and pliable on a windless day. The droplets fall off the canoe paddle and splash inaudibly into the lake. The sound of a tumbling stream causes relaxation and plants thoughts of lethargy in the mind. It can also be an angry force moving all that dare confront it. Powerful and overwhelming to everything. It can be slowed down but not caged or stopped. And in the end, it will prevail and live on. It is a free entity that humans mess with. But when it's all said and done' the water will flow free. Sort of sounds like our freedom here in America. You can run America in a screwy fashion and folks can toy around deciphering her constitution and creating laws for this or that. But after the bending and contorting of her values; America's freedom and strength will prevail. Real Americans can sometimes be lead to the cliff. But it's another thing to get them to jump off. And there is where the fight will begin. A last note: Google Bill Mason on your computer. He is no longer with us. He was a cinematographer, artist, photographer, painter and a master canoeist. A film of his, "water walker," is on "U" Tube. Its a beautiful piece of work, from a beautiful human being. They're rare these days. Until next time - don't laugh at the hat. Below is the (AWWWWW) photo of the day.