Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The drum spoke to my soul. If it hadn't, the compression from the speakers in my truck would have forced my body into compliance. It was the beating of a heart and mine sped up to match it.

The singer's howl of primal rage and pain set me on fire with fight response. Every ancestor, back to those who added it to the pool, would have reacted as I did. Adrenalin dumped into my body. Muscles tightened, hands gripped the wheel tightly and I scanned for the threat. I was able to stop a return bellow but am fairly sure my teeth bared in a snarl before I could stop them.

This was an ageless, mammalian thing.

Kayaks on the roofs of cars reminded me that the land I was driving over was an ancient sea floor mussed up a bit by glaciers. The critters that swam that sea would have thought us a tasty little bite (including kayaks) if they thought of us at all. They and their ocean were far older than my reaction or even the existence of mammals.

I watched the land pass outside my truck and was glad the sea bed was now corn fields and the critters part of the plastic in the kayaks.

Friday, June 26, 2009

When there is no tide

Wednesday...I'll have a whole day to kill...there will be white water out there...hmmm...cross-training...stories....gotta do it, a half day of river instruction. I look and find a place that appears to have quality staff so I send an email...nice folks but a week is a little short notice so they can't do it...bummer...I was looking forward to checking out Missoula...try the second place.

They seem to be a high volume rafting company with a side gig of kayak instruction from one of their guides but hey, Bozeman will be closer and the Gallatin looks to be a lovely river and I know nothing about river running except what I have seen in the videos and horror stories from friends...they call to set the reservation but seconds into the conversation they realize they may not have an instructor or water levels may not be right, they'll call back.

I start to pack for my trip, do I bring my gear? I call and ask about the instruction...they say the water level is too high call back a couple days before, maybe the water levels will I cart my gear out west on the hope of getting on a river?

You betcha!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

PFD (pre-Father's Day)

There is a sports program on television, Morgan is on her bucket and the sky again slate. Carl, out on a 2 day Guide course, has already called to check in and the boys have the SUP boards down at the landing with a buddy from the Vineyard. Sam is keeping half an eye on the weather. It isn’t looking good for Father’s Day. I am trying to concentrate on preparing dinner as well as the TV but my upcoming road trip has been slowly taking over my brain.

We finish dinner as the boys roll in with Alicia. The surf session had gone really well and they are in awe of Rob and his style on the waves. For his part Rob is happy, on the floor stretching while Morgan gives everyone the hairy eyeball and the tournament continues on TV. Izzy checks in with a call, completing the Saturday Osprey gathering.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Everybody's doin' it!! SUP!

My little sis came to visit the shop on Saturday after the WRWA River Run. The Run was awesome, and it was a georgeous day. A bunch of the OSKA crew were out paddling around on Standup paddle boards in the river right outside the shop. My sister is super cool, and super duper cute, and she's 11. She saw the boards and immediately wanted to try it. so we got her a paddle and a PFD, and she took off her earrings and hopped right on without any hesitation and began to paddle around. It was awesome. After a very short time, she had the board tracking pretty well, was able to turn it with ease, and was confidently dancing and jumping around on the board like a pro. She even gave me a ride on it! I am so psyched to paddle with her in the future! Stay posted for when we get her out in the waves surfin' kayaks, i'm sure she'll totally show me up out there! 

Monday, June 8, 2009


The train gently rocks and the sight of low tide flats in Salem is replaced by the West Branch at full tide. The world is green and gray, the air filled with the sound of the Osprey and the river boiling with fish. I inhale the scent of salt marsh as I paddle towards the harbor. I have miles to cover before work.

My eyes open as we pull into Swampscott. Faces of fellow commuters blur past the window and again there are greens and grays. My breath is a little ragged as I engage my entire body in the pursuit of the paddle board yards in front of me. I pour all my upper body into the paddle while my legs power the board under my feet. I feel the tremor of wavelets slapping beneath the bow. Mike pulls ahead, easily distancing me.

Blurrily I register Lynn, the red brick buildings with black tar roofs. My bow plunges into the water and a V-shaped wall of water flies up the deck at me. I am momentarily blinded by spray. The boat rises as the wave pushes it onward. Off to my right the client broaches and pops back over the wave. He is all smiles. The wind picks up, the tide continues out and the ocean throws us bigger waves. Crisp, salt air fills my lungs.

I wake again, this time as the train pulls into North Station. My body protests the walk to work and brain, the shift to the chaos of the city.

Monday, June 1, 2009


The glare was intense. It’s eyes bright green peering out of black fur. I felt like an intruder as the gaze pierced. The cat was on a rickety dock at the end of Turtle Flats hunkered down in that pose halfway between sit and sprawl. The sun was up and over the horizon but it was still early and the world was adjusting from night. Fish roiled the surface of the water as they pounded down as much food as they could before the inevitable onslaught from above. Sparrows zipped around picking off the insects hovering just over the water. My paddle was the loudest noise in all this activity. The cat was affronted by my presence. I passed by and headed south. On my return up river the cat was gone but the glare remained.