Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Comfort Plants

I walked my canoe to Lake Union. It is 50F with a wind out of the south. I will have the wind at my back most of the time today. I see the nutrea trapper in the south end of Portage Bay. He has set so many traps that a nutrea could leap from trap to trap, if a nutrea could leap. Passing the fish hatchery, I see the fish feeding man feeding the little salmon. It is windy, ducks are scarce. Some kayaks are out. I see a second goose nest today. It is on one of the beaver lodges and the mate chases me away. Near the burial island I stop in the cattails. Cattails are a comfort plant for me in the same way that people have comfort foods. Todays wind makes the reeds rustle. A soft white object to my left turns out to be an egg from last year that has gone as soft as an empty balloon. I find this out when I poke it with my paddle and the yoke spills out. I spent a lot of summer days at my grandma's. She lived on a big lake that was great for swimming in the summer and great for skating in the winter, if someone kept a patch of ice clear. Across the road from her house was a large swamp with lots of frogs, turtles and the others that should've been there. When bored, I could spend several hours pinching, poking and smashing cattail heads, watching the down spill out until it blew away or, more often, found it's way into my ears, eyes and mouth. Grandma's house might, at times, be an insane asylum, but the swamp could always be depended upon to be a place where you could be alone. Even now, it cradles my canoe, blocks the wind and reflects the warmth of the sun upon me. Other boats pass by, but no one comes near. I just sit here.

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