It's true. Not even 24 hours after finishing Harry Potter, this afternoon found me sucked into another distraction: the third season of Bravo's Top Chef, a show I'd never seen before I watched it with my excellent friend last week. There's been a lot of coming and going in the past week. I think I'm in need of some hard-core settling down, the kind that television shows and pop fiction phenoms don't really provide. And so tonight is one of those nights when you just have to listen to me talk to myself, talk at myself, talk myself back down, back into orbit. But by now, I suspect that's why most of you are here.
My father canoes. He bought his current canoe many years ago while on a multiweek trip with my mother. In 2000, they brought the canoe to Ithaca, and we took turns going out into the middle of Cayuga Lake in it. In the mornings, my parents would paddle across the lake and back, even before my then-somebody and I made it out of bed and up to the state park where they were staying.
This year, my father decided that he was tired of his and my mother's having to carry the canoe from campsite to lakeshore, and so he designed and commissioned a two-wheel canoe dolly. It's a small white platform with a space in its middle; the canoe rests on it and can, once properly placed and strapped down, be smoothly steered over level ground by one person using one hand.
On the weekend, I paddled in the canoe's bow twice. The lake where my parents camp (are camping, still) was once a river. Then, it was dammed. Now, it is placid, greeny-blue the way lakes often are not. The canoe cuts through the water quietly; paddlers who know what they are doing (I do not profess to be one of these) can make almost an absence of noise as they propel themselves along. Such maneuvers are important in shallow water where birds might lurk, ready to take wing at any provocation. On Saturday, my brother in the stern, we couldn't do much of anything besides make way. Which is not to complain. Which is to say we did better than I'd have thought we would, entirely because my brother actually knew what he was doing and, watching my back, could tell me what I needed to do differently. On Sunday, my father in the stern, we slipped into a cove, bellied over a sunken tree, spied a heron, traced the rock ledges that bespeak nearby caves.
The severing of water. Its silent resealing behind us. The curls around my paddle when I tried to learn a new stroke, one that does not remove the paddle from the water.
The ripple of each shoulder: you might not believe it: I am only brain here.
The short shock of the tiny dragonfly's body, painted in the blue of my dreams.
Memory is why I don't have cable in my own home. Memory is better than television.
(I can't give you pictures tonight; the picture-maker is at the other house. But tomorrow, an update. A picture postscript.) (And now, the postscript is there!)