Sticky pine and pot-black stained hands,
the stench of BO and bug spray
interrupted by cool rain fresh wind off the bow.
Sweet exhaustion, shaky limbs - now fed,
Whose home is this?
The nasty pine bug, the crooning loon,
First families still walking this land.
Solace for me, one tent site at a time.
Waking to the sunrise, something warm in my mug.
Preparing for a day’s journey over water until
the next soft spot is found for sleep.
Family is made over the fire.
We commune through shared meals
after a day of paddling.
We know each other by the way we went
- or in
- the last set of rapids.
On calmer waters there may be stories,
memories of past adventures,
always laughter, sometimes tears,
Taking in the sunset from a not-so-special spot,
leaning into the shoulder of this moment’s companion.
It is nothing less than magic,
we know this:
the crumbling corner of the dock,
our occasional encounter
Despite what no one else knows -
this is emblazoned upon our memories
Maddy Vertenten, Vice-Chair