Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The first time Matt and I went canoeing, I drove over to his apartment at four in the morning, stood outside his apartment in the dark, and threw rocks at his window.

The buzzer on his building didn't work (and we didn't have cell phones in those days, kids) and throwing pebbles was the doorbell. He came out, we got into the old International, and we headed for the grocery store in a town where, five years later (though we didn't know it then), we would make our home for some time. We stocked up on cheese, muffins, a disconcerting product called Yard-O-Beef, and coffee -- everything you need for a morning on the river.

His grandfather's canoe, an 17-foot aluminum Grumman that's at least 40 years old and weighs approximately 523 pounds, hung under the deck from a complicated harness meant to thwart squirrels and burglars alike. I was worried I wouldn't be strong enough -- that I would somehow fail, that I would drop the canoe and wake his grandma, that a quarter-mile on the river would wipe me out.

Fortunately, he did most of the carrying. He hefted it onto the IH, and I stood in the back and held onto it as he drove down the hill to the river access. We were on the river just after the sun rose. It was a gorgeous October morning -- misty and quiet, with the leaves starting to turn.

We canoed for hours. If I had been worried at all about what we might talk about, I didn't need to be. I actually don't remember what we talked about, but I do know that I thought of that day a lot while I was in Russia, and if I would ever have days like that again.

After much saving, I think we will.


  1. Anonymous10:47 AM

    Have you and Matt read John McPhee's Survival of the Bark Canoe? A good read!

    Aunt in Indiana

  2. i have a crush on your life.