River Float Story

Floating by canoe.

| July/August 1984

You glide over crystal water, observing the many life forms in its depths. A delicate J- stroke silently propels your canoe round a gentle bend in the river. Three deer—a doe and two fawns—stand knee deep in the water. They turn to look at you. Just as you draw abreast of them, the doe signals her young, and all three turn in unison and fade silently into the underbrush.

In the bow, your mate knifes a paddle into the water, and you match that stroke with yours. The canoe picks up speed, and you use your paddle as a rudder to guide it through a fast riffle. Another bend along the river float, and you come upon a long-legged crane standing and spearing fish with its beak in the shallows. It sees you and flushes with a powerful flapping of wings, emitting loud, echoing squawks that send a small flock of colorful ducks sailing off downstream in front of you.

The sun begins to set, and you beach your craft and make camp for the evening. Later, sometime between the first "jug-a-rum" of the frogs announcing the stealthy approach of darkness and the last soulful taste of char boiled fresh trout, vague worries of job pressures and subway schedules surface in your mind. But these thoughts pass quickly; you'll deal with them later ... much later. For now, you put out the Coleman lantern, snuggle down into your sleeping bag beside your already snoozing mate ... and let the gentle night rhythms of the river and its creatures lull you into peaceful, dreamless sleep.

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