I love the way the river smells.
I love the way it feels to guide the course of a canoe with a small flick of my paddle. I love being on the water, maneuvering around rocky islands thick with birds and wildflowers.
As a middle kid in a large-ish family, it was very difficult to find things that I was better at than my siblings. I particularly remember one day when I spent an entire afternoon learning to skateboard. Then Ben came along, thought it looked like fun, and gave it a try. Within fifteen minutes or so he was better at it than I was.
For some reason, paddling a canoe was the one non-artsy thing I was good at.
My family used to take canoe trips down the Willamette River every summer. On Saturday my sister Amy, intent on showing her friend Aemie all the delights of Oregon during their short visit, arranged for us to take an old-fashioned family canoe trip.
Ben, Aemie, and Amy were in the purple canoe. Amy, who was the photographer of the trip, didn’t want any pictures taken of her because of her ugly rain coat, but I assure you she came along.
Also on the trip was my roommate Ashlie, who was particularly good at madly steering the canoe from the front when I began daydreaming and drifting near the bank.
I feel so lucky to live next to this river.