Monday, April 7, 2008

Never abandon a fallen comrade.

March 19th

I spent the morning putting together a back-up presentation in case the one I had sent for from Seattle was a non-arrival. The highlight of my day was a row out of the G.G.B.C. It felt great to get oars in my hand once again and even better to ply them through the water. I always reckon the first row back is a honeymoon – the boat and the body seem to move surprisingly well. It’s got to be the lack of expectation. Despite being landlocked, Sale has a port. No doubt developed when the roads were not as good, and the most efficient transport of goods from the interior was a barge. It was at first refreshing, then laborious to pull the rowing muscles. The water was clean, but silted brown. Gum trees reached over the river, and it threatened rain, going as far to dust a few refreshing drops on me. Then the sun came out, and my bike-callused hands were hard in all the wrong spots. I was developing blisters despite what I thought was a light grip on the oar. Catch. Drive. Release. Nothing is more physically satisfying and flummoxing as plying yourself through the water.

I stepped it up for the last 500 meters. I figured correctly that Dan would be watching from shore, and I, of course, wanted to give a satisfactory accounting of myself. I did not want to him to think the only boat I could row was an ocean boat.

I was pleased with my performance until I looked around and saw a long branch grab my head and, in slow motion, pull my $200 pair of glasses from my head and drop them into the silty drink. I laughed, but not really with a lot of humor.

I looked at Dan. "That is a loyal piece of equipment. I can’t leave it behind enemy lines." He shrugged and made a dubious comment on just how clean he thought the water was. I would not be dissuaded and docked the boat and climbed into the water. I waded, hoping to keep my head above water. It came up to my neck. I felt, nervously, with my feet. Nothing. "In for a penny in for a pound," I thought as I submerged my head and shut my eyes to the cooties that were no doubt infesting me at this very moment. Nothing. I went back to the feet, not to give up so easily, pulling up stick after muddy stick until ... I did not believe it. Thank God for a slow current. Dan looked at me and my ascending and vocal happiness and shook his head. I took a shower.

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