Eleanor's reluctant canoe ride
Sunday, August 11 2013
location: northwest coast of Lake Edward, Fulton County, New York
We'd bought both decaf and regular coffee at Trader Joe's, and because it was Sunday morning, we had the real deal this morning when we had our coffee down on the dock. We also had British crumpets, which are really good with Earth Balance fake butter.
While we drank our coffee, Gretchen and I composed a version of John Lennon's "Imagine" as it would have been written by a contemporary right winger, preserving all the rhymes in the process. For example, instead of the final line being "And the world will live as one," we have it something like "And us folks'll get'er done."
Our cabin came with two canoes and yesterday I'd paddled around a little in the smaller one. At some point today, Gretchen and I tried to take that canoe out into the lake with Ramona, but her shifting weight kept tilting it ominously, causing water to pour over the side on at least two occasions. We had to bring it back to the shore and use the larger canoe for the three of us. This one seemed more seaworthy, so we headed down to the southwest end of the lake, partly just to spy on the cabin we stayed in last year to see if someone was there. Nobody was, but it wasn't long before we saw Eleanor run out to the end of its dock. Evidently she didn't like being abandoned, even if she hates getting into a canoe. At this point, though, we felt compelled to add her to our party. So we landed at the dock, dragged her into the canoe, and quickly paddled out into deep water so she wouldn't immediately jump out. She hated it and kept her tail between her legs but didn't cause any problems as we paddled to the southeast shore, continued up to a boggy inlet, tried to circumnavigate a tiny bog-bound island (43.117572N, 74.357786W; it was impossible) and then headed back south to a landing Gretchen and I had explored a year ago (43.11621N, 74.362282W). That landing has a number boats and at least one fire pit (as well as a variety of empty beer cans), and from it there is a thousand-foot trail up to a house with a long, narrow lawn hacked into the forest. We walked up to that lawn and back and the surfaces we encountered were pleasant enough that Gretchen had no trouble doing the whole thing barefoot. It was easier to convince Eleanor to get back in the boat when our hiking was done and we needed to paddle across the lake back to our cabin.
This evening Gretchen made an Italian pasta meal using a thin red sauce and green beans from our garden with a side of fake chicken "parmesan." As we had last night, we dined out on the lake in the battery-powered raft, Ramona riding somewhat uncomfortably between us (she didn't seem to like its roughly-ribbed floor).
After it got dark, Gretchen and I found ourselves out on the dock looking up at the stars, of which there seemed to be a great many. The sky was so dark that the Milky way was a clearly-visible line running directly over the axis of the lake. Gretchen saw a shooting star and made a comment that suggested she thought it was dying star. I asked if she was serious in thinking that was what it was and she said she was. Evidently nobody had ever told her the vast size differences between the tiny specks of interplanetary dust that become meteors and the massive stars that irradiate planets from the center of solar systems. As I was explaining all this, Gretchen noted how strongly alcoholic my breath smelled. I'd been drinking orange juice spiked with Devil's Spring Vodka.
Later, while we watched episodes of Orange is the New Black, she took take a sip of the drink I'd fixed myself and declared it undrinkably strong.
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