Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thanksgiving in the Valley

You rise early because the fire went out at 4 a.m. and the buzzing of outboard motors en route to the duck blinds keeps you awake. You dress in cold jeans and shirt to restart the fire. The sun’s not up, but through the fog you hear shot guns popping at the mouth of the Mississippi. A pot of coffee must be remade because you misread the proportions. From the dock, you watch steam rise from the water and drift into Pocket Bay; at the beach, you examine skeletal reminders of the summer’s catfish kill. After an afternoon nap, you gorge yourself on Grandma’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and butter tarts. When the wood boxes are filled for the evening’s fires, you lift the cedar strip canoe from its rack and set in the bay. Into a blinding sun you paddle, breathing the cold air and recording the deciduous brilliance in the soft light. You float in Goodwin’s Bay and watch the sun dip behind the hardwoods, the filtered light casting a lattice over the still water, before turning home towards a golden harvest moon.

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