Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Being Found

On the way, I stop at the usual grocery and buy some pastries for the trip.  I stop here whenever I come this way and I suspect that their bakery is in a place that requires a mule train to get the product to market.  I get my usual chocolate croissant hardtack, a lemon poppy seed muffin jerky and a chocolate chip muffin jerky...the stalest pastries for a hundred miles around.  But, I keep coming here because the woman at the cash register is always cheerful and has a real talent for small talk.  It makes up for the leathery pastry.

We are story tellers and we always have been from the moment we developed language.  Take the TV and stereo away and people start telling stories.  It's automatic.

I suppose that much of our folklore comes from the journeys people made.. a natural exercise to pass time during the slow modes of travel, walking, riding, paddling, at least when things were going according to plan.  And when things went awry, well those tales got put together as well.  Places acquired legends and names that fit the imagination or the reality.  If the story was told enough, the legend and place name became common to all that mattered.

When we got around to putting names on paper, some of them stuck and some of them disappeared, some replaced by honorifics for people that for some reason or another were momentarily popular.  Sometimes, it is best to put the map away and return to the origin.  This comes to me as I pass Plastic Owl Point.
The river is dead calm, the current slack with high tide holding any river motion in check.  I make the crossing picking up trash of opportunity - a bottle here, a bottle there.  Everything can be seen hundreds of yards off in the smooth water.  I head for a distant bottle.  It then becomes a dead swan, its neck laid in the water as they do.  Finally, it becomes a well worn drift log, white with exposure.  It is a propeller buster, except that the motorboat boys still have their boats in shrink wrap.  I have the river to myself.

We lose our greatest tales when we lose our wonder.  When we become the biggest and baddest most dominate force over nature, we lose ourselves.  The great stories come from the great forests and rivers, the inaccessible mountains and caves, and the enormous spaces of the deserts and oceans.  They come from people being lost and finding their way back.  They come from people disappearing into that landscape never to be seen again.  When there is no wild, the stories fade away.  If you can't get lost, you can't be found.
a very real muskrat back in the Elf Forest.
At four hours, I return to my put-in.  My journey has reached its destination; I have been found.

Where: Selden Channel of the Connecticut River and thereabouts

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