Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Summer in my childhood meant spending more nights in a tent than a bed. It meant waking up at first light, smelling coffee dripping through a handkerchief over a fire, walking across a sandbar to find the paths of the creatures who passed by our tent in the night, pressed into the wet sand. A raccoon’s stack of shucked mussel shells, next to his five fingered hand print, filling with creek water. 

My first clear memory is of being in a canoe, still an only child then, sitting low in the middle seat, balanced on a life jacket, straining to see ahead of us. A curve of the creek and then, caught in a backwash of brambles and flotsam, my beloved beach ball.  There had been wind in the night, and it had blown away, gone forever, according to both mom and dad. And yet there it was. My parents paddled over, dad steering from the back, and mom probably holding onto the back of my life   jacket, keeping my two year old body, bursting with exuberant beach ball reunion joy, firmly in the canoe. I know that grip pretty well myself now, from the other end.
I remember the feeling, the miraculous joy - what was lost is found.

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