Friday, June 17, 2011

THE CHAMPLAIN CANOE IN THE MORNING & THOUGHTS ABOUT CANOES

A bulldozer is pushing over trees and creating an open space for a house at the edge of my favorite cove.  I can't bear to take a photograph of the wretched contraption.  Maybe it IS time to move on to new waters.

It is early.  The sun has been up only a short time.  Gentle rain suddenly appears and disappears just as quickly.  It is welcome this morning.  I needed to get away from everything for a few hours.  I've been sort of confined to the computer, scanning, filing and emailing documents to the loan officer in order to expedite the closing of the property I want East of here.  It is both frustrating and ridiculous the quantity of paperwork involved in buying a property.  Most of the paperwork is repetitious and senseless.  I am becoming impatient with the process and I've let the lending people know it.  My American dream never has been and still is not to own a house.  I don't want one now but, I have to live somewhere.  I needed to let those people know that I can walk away from this house deal and think nothing of it.  It might serve as motivation for them to take fewer breaks and work a little faster.  As an example of stupid, time wasting paperwork;  I returned thirty two documents to the closing officer yesterday that I had to download, scan and file, print and sign.  Then they had to be sent back as PDF files.  The last page that required my signature was the "Paper Reduction Act."  What a concept!  I was to read it and sign that I had. 
I had to get away from that process, people, motorcycle noise and even my dog family.  The Champlain was calling me this morning.  I drove past the bulldozer and parked in the grass at the water's edge.  The heft of the kevlar canoe was super light.  There was no chance of this feather weight boat causing a return of sciatica.


I stepped into the canoe and instantly noticed the difference between the Champlain and the Mistral.  There will be no standing up in this canoe.  Primary stabilization requires the operator to pay attention.  A couple paddle strokes and we were flying along the shoreline.  This boat is really, really fast and exhibits tremendous glide characteristics.   I smiled and uttered the single word; "Ya.!"
A canoe ride has a way of making everything alright.  I don't know why.  It just does.  I paddled along the edge of the shoreline close to the dead falls.  Now and again a small log would appear ahead and a simple dip and twist of the paddle instantly steers the bow to right or left of the offending object.



The Champlain is a highly maneuverable canoe.  I can't say it's the best because I haven't paddled others in it's class.  I'm not saying it's the best canoe out there but;  it delights me with it's elegant habits.  Every canoe paddler has his or her particular canoe that's "right for them."  There are as many right canoe brands and models as there are people.  The thing is to get one and enjoy it.  Use it.  Canoe's are peace of mind pills.

I was paddling toward my favorite stop at this cove.

  The park bench on the trail has witnessed my presence for the last few years.  It's a great place to just watch the water and to write.  I do feel the yearning for my dogs though.  I not only adore them but, I think they have become a habit of mine.  It's a habit I welcome wholeheartedly. 

The wonderful thing about paddling canoes is that one needs no purpose to do so.  Nor does one require a destination to paddle to.  I think the exercise of paddling the craft and directing it on the water in total silence, somehow rounds off the jagged peaks on the worry graph that resides in everyone's mind.
I liken canoes to poetry.  The poetic words flow beautifully across the written page ,their structure and form lending elegance to the words; the exact meaning dependent upon the perception of the reader yet, their structure and form lend continuity to the material.

A canoe moves across the water silently;  the bow gently parts the water at it's passing.  Drops of water silently fall from the paddle blade as it is withdrawn from the water in preparation for the next paddle stroke, which if done properly, is totally without sound.  No automated noises are heard because there aren't any.  The canoe glides effortlessly ahead with each completed stroke of the paddle, quietly moving forward, making much the same commotion as the Osprey passing overhead.  If one turns his head and looks rearward he can see evenly spaced dimples in the smooth water's surface, marking the spots where the paddle was dipped into the mirrored finish of the water.  The even pattern indicates uniformity in the paddle strokes.  Both the canoe and the poetry are beautiful;  and similar.
I do love canoes.  Sitting here on this bench allows me to be at ease and not dwell on irritating issues.  I like to let my mind wander.  What is it they say:; "The mind is a terrible thing to waste?"   I'm not saying I wasted my mind over the years but, I find that I'm discovering some files out of place and am working diligently on placing them back into the filing cabinet of my mind
.  I'm also finding that I meet the nicest people when canoeing on the lower lakes.  A voice gently spoke; "behind you."  I turned and a gray haired gentleman came walking up the trail toward the bench I was sitting on.  He said he didn't want to startle me.  Gracious of him.  His name was Hoyt and he was responsible for the care and upkeep of one mile of this trail.  Trail maintenance is handled by hikers and by people who care about wild places.  They are not paid a cent.  They do it to preserve this wonderful avenue around the lake and through the forest so people can "get away" from the pressures of daily life.  Hoyt is retired.  He was a book publisher from Columbus, Ohio.  He didn't name the company he worked for and I didn't ask.  It seemed that neither one of us wanted to reflect on issues that referenced money.  He commented on my canoe and said that he, in his younger year, canoed weekly.  I asked him why he stopped paddling.  He said the job required over half of his free time and family concerns took the rest of it.  We discussed canoes, trail building and repair and he moved on.  I may never see him again but I am richer for the experience of meeting him.
If you look closely at the water in the last few pictures, you'll notice the lake has a texture to it's surface.  The wind is picking up.  What else is new?  Seems every time I take a canoe out the wind shows up.  I jest somewhat.  Wind is a given factor.  We deal with it.  This wind feels good but, I have no ballast in the bow of the boat and may have to be a little creative with the paddle on the way back. 
Thanks for going with me this morning.  I appreciate your company.  I think a cup of coffee and eggs are calling me at the Greenback Drug and Cafe.    Till next time;  watch out for turtles crossing the road.  Please give em a break....