September 29, 2003

Kickapoo (9/29/2003: Rhet 146)

Everything I need is packed in ten-gallon pickle tubs,
to keep water from drenching food and clothes.
Theyíre tied into the aluminum boat
that is propelled by the riverís current
and the strength of my partner and myself.
We travel in a group,
all headed for the same destination
but at different speeds.
Sometimes we lay back
and let the water carry us at its own pace,
only exerting ourselves when we drift toward the riverbank
or a fallen tree that obstructs our path.
There are moments when we paddle with all our strength
racing to see who can reach the next bridge first.
We ram each other sometimes,
trying to capsize each otherís canoes
and dump the paddlers into the water.
There is nothing malicious about it.
It just makes the sometimes-slow journey livelier
and turns into friendly competition.
If we donít look ahead carefully
we can easily run into rocks or trees or the bank at sharp bends
and land ourselves in the riverís cold water.
This happens often but we pull ourselves back into our boats
and our wet clothes dry quickly in the sun.
Once, two of the guys breached their canoe
against a huge fallen tree trunk.
It took the strength of the whole group
to fight it free of the riverís powerful current
that tried with all its might
to drag the boat underwater
and leave them stranded, midstream.
We all end up at the same place eventually.
And itís not a race to see who gets there first.
What matters is that we get there
with no more than scraps and bruises and wet clothes
and good stories to tell of the journey that got us there.

Posted by dpetrella at September 29, 2003 9:10 PM

You forgot the part about me and you getting all upset with each other...

On second thought that would have ruined it.

Posted by: miguel at October 10, 2003 3:51 PM
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