Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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Earlier this month, a person I met at the Lunenburg Craft and Food Festival suggested that I write from the point of view of the canoe. I loved the idea. This blog is an attempt in that direction, and if blogs can be dedicated to people, it is dedicated to the person who inspired me.
I AM THE CANOE
The heat presses my body,
powders the finish on my gunwales,
Crowds my thoughts as I yearn to recall
The rush of water dancing over me.
I am the canoe. I do not see. I feel.
That gust of cooler air,
That shudder beneath my side –
That is cabin door opening,
Her feet on floorboards.
I am the canoe. I do not hear. I feel.
I roll to touch the softness, the dryness,
My side numb from the long coma of winter –
That is carpet, then porch.
Now my belly glides over the slick and the cool –
That is ferns, meaning rocks are coming.
The sharpest gouges my skin, deep,
And I cringe for I am the canoe and I feel.
I feel the rock edge drag deep
Then the cool ease of mud
And now! Now I float!
Water caresses my flanks,
Eager, too, for our run.
Water splashes into my body,
And that softness is her foot that touches me,
And that scratchy softness is dog.
We will ride together,
That rush of water against my side is paddle.
Oh! Welcome, paddle. You complete me, my friend.
We surge into the lake and that dip of shadow,
That moment of cool,
That is Eagle, passing above.
Welcome, Eagle, Thank you for your blessing.
Sun sears my gunwales but
Water brushes my belly and my sides,
Waves part before me and now,
A touch of roughness taps my gunwale in passing
Now softness, fur-ness, at my side.
That is Dog joining me in the water,
And now we swim together once more.
And the long winter of waiting is past,
And the summer of rippling water is with us.
I am the canoe. I do not speak, but I sing. I feel.
I am the canoe and I love this season,
When I lie in the shade, cool mud beneath me,
Dog often pressing wetness of nose in the evening,
Coming to the lake because Dog is friend.
And she is friend,
Sharing lake moments,
Sheltering me from storm.
Do not go, please, let us explore always but
Oh! That dryness fluttering over me.
That is leaf falling.
Our season is passing.
I am on my side, pressed to carpet.
Thick air pressing my thoughts, no cool of wind or water.
I sink into autumn, into winter, comatose but images still darting in my mind.
I am the canoe. I do not see. I do not hear, or taste, or scent,
But I touch. I feel.
A press of hand, a moment of paw,
A paddle pushing water along my flank,
Waves parting for my bow,
These are flashes in memory now.
I dream of her. I dream of Dog.
I dream of Eagle, hovering over me.
I miss, oh, I miss them all.
Memories and yearnings crowd around me,
For I am the canoe,
And I feel.
How I feel.