Saturday, October 10, 2009


I love canoeing. It's quiet and peaceful and you end up in locations that humans don't normally occupy. Like in the middle of a huge smooth lake early in the morning. Turtle heads peeking out for air. Fish making small splashes behind your back (mind games). And ducks floating by wondering why humans have to be everywhere.

I was thinking about the first time I canoed. My father took my brother and I to the canals of Bucks County. There was a small rental place there and I guess my dad was thinking "It's not deep, no waves, we're in and we're out, I go home and watch the game."

It seems canoes are always stored belly-up. Makes sense. If it rains they stay dry inside. And they're stackable. And spiders dig it too. Infesting every crevice and crack of an overturned canoe. I don't own a canoe and every single time that I rent one, I share the ride with at least ten spiders. Big spiders.

So that day we had our impatient father and confused spiders looking for new places to hide. We shoved off and headed up the narrow canal. The water was mud-brown and we sailed towards a clump of men fishing. Fishing in the canal. Not sure what sort of fish lives in a canal, but we floated right between their nylon fishing lines. And they looked annoyed. Like they wanted to sink us. Being boys, we wanted to steer the canoe up to logs and sticks and branches floating in the old canal. My father ordered us to avoid them. Helm to 108.

Boredom probably led my father to eventually acquiesce and we set sail for a fat log to investigate. By then we had mastered steering the canoe and navigated the craft alongside the log. My brother raised his oar and brought it down on the log with a solid quick jab. The bloated dog rolled over and four rigid algae-covered legs pointed up at us. The fur was gray-green and smelly and all the little bugs that had been flying around us started dancing on the slick wet clumpy water-fur.

Then the sea beast rolled back under.

We probably threw out the lunches we brought with us.

This is pretty accurate.

Image source.


~Scout~ said...

That is so gross!

On the other hand, the sculpted tree in the photo is magnificent!


woofboy111 said...

He he...

Something similar happened to me last time I was canoeing on the Econlockhatchee River. Went up to investigate the big white and black stripped thing floating half hidden in some plants near the shore. From a distance, it looked like it could have been a big piece of furniture. Like a leather couch. Once I got up to it, I soon realized I paddled right up to a half decayed, 14 foot alligator floating belly up. I'm glad I didn't make that mistake with a living 14 foot gator...

Jim said...

nice story. try building a canoe. I am.