Friday, September 1, 2017


I make my own canoe paddles, and I make a lot of them.  Sometime each January I carve one that will be used for the entire year.  I view these critters as spirit paddles, I think of them a bit more like a living object than the actual piece of dead wood that they are.  Almost all of them are finished with oil, which is actually water repellent and not water proof.  I could make my paddles sandwiched in fiberglass, light, strong, and practically invincible, and they would end each trip as they begun, living a protected life free from risk, but also free from experience.  Meanwhile, my paddles acquire dents and dings, scratches and gouges, and sometimes a split in the tip.  They also acquire the microscopics of everyplace they go.  By the end of the year they look like they have lived a life - scarred but they also have character. They also carry the memory of each trip in their pores.  My 2017 paddle took on a nasty split on my last trip.  It's usually an easy repair, a simple thin saw cut up the split, then a piece of thin and contrasting colored wood glued into the gap.  But this split cut through the blade at an angle and I botched the saw cut.  I ended up opening the split to an 1/8 inch and filled it with red resin. It is back in the water bearing four inches of deserved and earned red scar.  It's what a spirit paddle should do.

I came here to a more forested river because the coast was quite windy.  It is quiet as far as birds go, very quiet.  But the wild rice is up and I figure that soon it will draw quite a few birds in to feast.

 Mattebasset River

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