October 11, 2003
Ketchikan Ferry

The deck was an impasto of white paint, streaked with rust stains, and he was nervous. It had been perhaps 15 years since, and this time he was alone. This metal deck he was looking at was liquid once, and now it was frozen, and slowly flaking underneath that paint. It growled beneath him as they reversed the engines and the landscape stopped moving.

He lifted his fiberglass shell to his shoulder. Clumsy on land, lithe in the water.

On the rocky shore he loaded it, balancing, and stuffing it from gunwhale to gunwhale. The water here was fishy and oil-streaked; he would leave that behind soon.

With a rasp, and a wobble, he was off and cutting into the opaque water. A light chop, the wind behind him. Rotating with each stroke he sought his rhythm--he would find it in a couple of days. Meanwhile the gravity was subsiding, it's pull first sliding away from his arms, his core, then his belly.

At the moment, he could feel everything: the breeze finding its way into his unzipped collar, rounding his shoulders, lifting the short hairs behind his neck; the brine dripping off the splash rings and pattering on his sprayskirt; the oscillations of his kayak into the chop; the slow wink of his marine radio.

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