Writing 101, Day Two: A Room with a View – choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory.
I am content, lulled by the gentle bobbing and rolling from side to side; the rhythmic surge forward that is followed by coasting. I am not a passenger but part of this space. It is an extension of my body.
Meditative sounds envelope me – the knock of wood against the wall as constant as a metronome set real slow, sing your favourite 80s ballad to it kind of slow; the swirl of water rushing by and the light dancing of water droplets against the sides occasionally find their way in and prickle as they melt against my skin.
This is my half day to rest. I am cocooned in a sanctuary that, in the shadows created by its contours, is as soothing as cool ice on my sun-drenched skin, but sizzling hot to touch if I reach up and lay my hand on the edges that are flat to reflect the sun’s rays.
I have to maneuver myself into position like an acrobat – relax my muscles into the small space, fold my bones over the ribs and grommets, get comfortable with the grit and tiny stones that dig into my skin, tuck my legs into fetal angles and lay my arms across my face to blot out of the blinding sunlight.
I half close my eyes so that I can still see the blue sky and my friend’s back in a graying t-shirt that just shows her backbone pushing against the cotton. “Cotton kills,” on cold, wet days, but this day it offers a smidgen of reprieve from the power of the golden orb above us.
I breathe in deeply the smell of canvas and leather that has already travelled more kilometres upon the backs and boats of other adventurers than I could even dream of experiencing. There is a musty odour where the Duluth pack lays in a hidden puddle of water, mud and twigs that the sun cannot dry up. I move the back of my hand, stained silver, to rest against my parched lips and inhale the smell of my own skin tattooed by the hull of my vessel. It imprints on my soul.
I do not sleep. I am not awake. The Duffer, lying in quiet repose and wishing that the moment will never end. I am living the life I felt meant to lead with eight other girls who are as independent, fierce and inspiring as I hope I am. We are a young, strong and self-sufficient team. We laugh often. We create songs and sing about everything we do. We sleep in one tent with our nine heads interlocked in the middle.
By day, we paddle and portage three aluminum canoes through the connected waterways of this great country, living for each moment and never leaving regret in the water we push behind us with our paddles. Six weeks of bliss. I find sisters for life and my career path is determined.