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.

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