365 Days of Earrings

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time for a paddle

At seven o'clock, when I was a child, we sat down around the dining room table to share a meal and discuss the topic that was at the forefront of my father's mind, often an idea that he'd just heard discussed by Huntley or Brinkley or Walter Cronkite, or a tale of one of his adventures that the news inspired. I loved dinner time, even in summer when my friends had all eaten earlier and were back outside playing kickball or dodge ball. I knew that I would be out in time for Sardines or Midnight Spook.

Here at our cabin, we have no TV and even radio reception is poor. The two of us rarely sit at the table anymore, but instead perch on chairs on our deck or next to the fire. We eat when we're ready to eat. And then, at seven o'clock or later if necessary, I like to head out for a paddle.

I paddle upstream first, with the sun on my back. My route follows the far bank where a channel allows my paddle to dig deep and power me against the current.

Tonight, since the solstice is seven weeks past, the sun was low on the horizon. Its rays refracted off the flowing water creating a shimmery effect on the river bank and its low-hanging branches. I reached out so that my paddle could catch the shimmer. As I paddled, I identified familiar wildflowers and trees by name: monkey flower, forget-me-not, hornbeam, boneset...

I love my evening paddle. And I love my Dagger Quintus, the one that I bought 21 years ago along with my first used kayak at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina. It has bashed and scraped many river rocks over those years; I hope that it will last as many more. I've tried other paddles, but this one I love. Its heft, length, and grip suit me.
Today's earrings dangle from one of the paddle's blades in this photo. I bought them at the Sawmill Center for the Arts as a model to use in making other earrings. I thought they looked a bit gaudy and dangled too low.

This morning when I saw them, I saw paddles. It was raining hard, but I put them on, confident that today, sometime, I would paddle. Tonight at seven, I was on the river, my paddling earrings shimmering in the sunlight. Paddling on.

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