Friday, May 27, 2005

You know how sometimes you feel tired when all you are is weary?

The tiredness is just in your mind...and that is valid and often deserved but you are just weary in the head and what you really need is to go burn some calories... The fat ones, if possible.

Got home today and found a note...gone fishin...The wife and the number two son had hit the creek to harass smallmouth bass from a canoe, and my options were limited. It wasn't quite happy hour but I could start without her...or I could do some chores...or I could go to the creek, too.

Don't be silly...the creek it was. I grabbed a fast kayak, a prototype of a workout boat that is growing on me like summer moss on a creek rock. I like to go fast. The only thing better than fast, is quiet and fast. Those morons burning the fossil fuels at high volume don't get it. Loud mufflers just annoy. they are the fossil fuel version of a hipocrite. The noise doesn't mean squat about how fast you go...only that you are so wrapped up in yourself that you want every body else to: "Hey, this!"

So I got the gear on, which in warm weather means a pair of running shorts and a life jacket which, nowadays, has been renamed a Personal Flotation device, or PFD, as the Coast Guard wants it to be called. Gear on, I picked up the kayak and walked down to the creek. Feeling macho at the beginning of a 400 yard portage is one thing, by the time I reached the water, I was hurting in a couple of places from the rough edges of the kayak on my body fat, but I could smell it. Water. Clean and cool. Wanting me to play.

I ignored the new trash left by the day's inconsiderate visitors and crawled in the boat, pushed away from shore an started paddling upstream at a good clip. Something about a fast boat, there is, that makes you want to go faster and faster still. Reaching the end of the pool after a third of a mile I jumped the first few shoals, running up through the fast water until I hit a ledge that was a bit too high to ascend. Giving up trying to punch upstream I let the boat turn against an eddy along the bank and headed downstream.

The dusk sky reflects on the water so that it is hard to see the rocks just under the surface. Me and the boat, we kissed a few on our way down stream , but on we went, fast. Working at the boater's equivalent of a light jog, I could push the boat downstream and still have time to watch the banks. Dropping through the first shoal. I felt the cold shock of the water as it splashed up on my side below the PFD. a not so welcome rush but not all that bad. The shock of things sometimes tells you you're alive.

A half mile from the house, the stream closed up into a small channel on my right where an old low water bridge used to cross from county to county. Roane County is the river left bank and Rhea County is the right. A deer was startled by my sudden approach and snorted and blew as it stumbled in the rocks along the bank and crashed away through the woods.

A Broad wing hawk barked as it carried something up and over the edge of the trees lining the right bank, and I was in the narrow channel leading down to the Sycamore tree growing out of the water. At high water the tree is an obstacle to be avoided. As I pass by it I think about the spotted bass the kids and I used to snorkel and look at in the summers past that lived in its roots. As I passed the tree I looked to my left for my old friend, the Commander.

He lives, if you can call it that, on the island alongside the sycamore tree. They must know each other and are about the same age. I am a few years older than either of them. My heart jumps and is gladdened as I see him, sitting beside the creek wearing his two colors of blue next to his shining silver smile. I did not bring my camera but I promise you folks that I will rectify this soon. The Commander faces upstream, and I am sure that has significance. His name, once written in chrome on both of his fenders, now marks only one... shadows of the missing letters apparent to the close observer. The Spring's wildflowers grow all around, some I know, some I don't, but all of them honor the Commander, island sentinel.

"Commander! Old friend...You're looking good."

As is his way, the Commander ignored me and kept watching the world. I'll hear from him when he's ready.

Cold water landed in my lap as I jumped the last ledge in the kayak, slicing too deeply into the waves to stay dry as I cut the corners of an S-turn, sprinting away from the Commander's island.

It is the end of May and the Mountain Laurel is blooming on the cliffs over the creek. Large leaf Cucmber trees join the fray with their huge white magnolia blossoms visible from the water. There are several small holes leading into the rock along the water's edge...cave like but I don't think they go very far in, just far enough to be a mystery.

Peace, brother...I'll be listening.

Now I'm really tired, but no longer weary.


commander rapid


  1. I'm no longer weary after reading THAT! Peace ;)

  2. Yeah, I spread a link to that piece around, Steve! And here's a link to a small miracle you may have missed, being tired and waterlogged and all...