my parents asked me these questions when i was a kid, to see how i would work my head around them: how do you think boats can float? boats are so heavy, and sometimes made of metal.

but there's a part of my self that feels just right when i can feel through my feet that the bottom of the boat skims happily across the surface of the water, that i can hear the sound of waves slipping against the sides to tell me that we're moving well. i like the resistance when i pull an oar, or a hand, or a paddle, and slowly, the boat moves against it.

we borrowed a boat to learn the feeling of oars, scraping metal pegs against wet metal inserts on the gunwale, scaring more fish and birds away than the quiet electrical motors the other boats used. you can feel the tiniest current, the wind pressing against the flat sides. across the water, a dad rowed the boat backwards, facing the straight stern, pushing the oars, so he could see where he was going. no one corrected his form.

i know the sound of the splash when a fish leaves the water to snatch an insect out of the air, the paloosh when it falls back in. a pileated woodpecker crosses overhead, its neck tucked in like a heron, wings laboring hard to bring it across such a flat, open flight. vultures circle. the wind keeps the biting insects off us, and small spiders huddle against corrugated aluminum benches.

27 June 2018 23:27

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