September 18, 2009

Tippecanoe and Tyler too!

I was on the cusp of whether to take a vacation day today, egged on by wife's one-two punch: "canoeing" and "breakfast". She had me at canoeing but the magic word "breakfast" made it official. And, like a movie script it worked out perfectly. A heaven-sent day heavenly spent, we started off with me reading my recent writings to her and she laughing at all the right places. Then a delicious breakfast at Bob Evans.

Full of the energy of vacation and breakfast, we skulled the canoe down from its perch and hippity-hopp'd it atop the truck cab and pronounced it and the truck hitched (with the help of orange suspenders) and then took off for parts unknown, specifically Beaver Lake just across the county line. We scouted the area for a place for Steph to exhaust our dog (she biking, he running) so that he'd keep still in the canoe and not tip it over (I'm dying to use a "Tip a canoe and Tyler too!" reference here somehow). It seemed unsuitable for that purpose, having only lanes of green grass that wended around the lake, and so it was back to the familiar dog-leg lakes at Prairie Oaks.

I started off in the canoe while she took Buddy to the dog beach. Clouds had the day off too so the sun was permanent but not hot, accompanied as it was by a breeze, and so I hunted off and sung the shoreline and smelled the tung of the earthy-earth and shared it all with sunning turtles and quirky shore birds. I soon found a little haven and felt encircled by all the beauty and breathed a sigh of relief not unlike that day long ago when hiking the parallelograms of Hocking Hills.
The smell of mackerel on my skin,
the taint of the water borne,
an elbow skims the surface hush
the oar brushing the brim.

I gleam-glomm'd the starry lake,
star'd by the sun's strong graces,
verisimilitudes tide the muddy shore,
the land grown green with envy.

When I was a child, the ocean trumped lakes and natural lakes trumped man-made lakes in the hierarchy of goods. This was in the American tradition of "bigger is better" and the Ewell Gibbons tradition of "natural is better". But it seemed God exists even in man-made lakes and that I ought not be so snooty. Yellow and white wildflowers, garish as Solomon, felt no disdain toward this "man-made" lake, clinging as they did to her shores. Then too the fish that swam by and by seemed happy and content. And the cool waters shown like diamonds under the sun and proclaimed goodness, not artificiality, no less than the waters of the Jordan. Though these were once excavating pits for business, they've now been reclaimed by God and God can do all things.

Looking on the reclaimed beauty, I was reminded of Jim Curley's yard of sand and how I wondered how vegetables would ever grow there. But then he told me about the elixir of manure and how he'd plant a cover crop or let grass or other weeds grow and then till that and then - at last - it was a soil rich, a soil capable of sustaining life, a soil that could be used. It was inspiring, seeing that sand patch and knowing it was on its way to goodness. It seemed magical that sand just needed manure to start the cycle.


Roz said...

A beautiful day. I'm an ocean girl myself, not because of it's size exactly, but because only an ocean emits that wave-crashing sound that makes my soul get better from wherever it's been.

Sounds like a canoe has potential, though. Here's to well-placed vacation days.

TS said...

Yeah I favor the ocean too, but in a pinch a small lake will do. :-)

Enbrethiliel said...


Back to the white background, I see! =)

TS said...

Yeah thought I'd try something different...I'm guessing most people use an aggregator and don't see the design anyway. That picture of the desk at right is actually Betty Duffy's by the way.

TS said...
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