Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rollin'
Rollin'
Rollin' on a river

Don't ever let it show. Don't let them know.



Never let anyone behind the curtain unless you know them or you love them.

If you can find someone you trust, grab on and never let go.



Recognition of a moment, while in the moment, can sometimes be as valuable as the moment itself.



Every so often, you are in the middle of a wonderful experience, and your subconscious taps you on the shoulder and says...



Hey. Stop.



That's a pack of wild horses, stopping, circling and looking at you as you float down the river.



Look at yourself. Remember this. No matter what happens, you'll always have this.



The proverbial out of body experince, hovering above yourself, taking the time to enjoy the wow.



Because, who knows?



Good people drop dead every day. Despicable people continue to thrive.



It's out of our hands, be it cancer or the World Series.



It is a familiar theme. That is a pelican. He had a broken wing. He floated ahead, behind and with us for around 8 of the 11 hours we spent on the water.



Every once in a while, he would try to take off of the river, and his right wing would refuse to cooperate, flopping like a child's arm in his father's shirt.



He was beautiful, and it hurt to watch.



There was nothing we could do.



We saw a black bear, a young one, maybe a year old. It was ambling along the top of the drainage. If the timing had been a minute different, that adolescent bear may have been there when the wounded pelican floated past.

As it was, fate smiled on the pelican.



Bells smiled, too.



Both Bells and I chased after the bear. I was trying to get a picture and I think Bells wanted some of its poop, so that he could dig through it, examine it, and learn to live a little more like it. Sleeping for six months, waking up in the spring, gorging until you nearly burst, then finding the nearest sow to impregnate before you crawl into a cave and do it all over again.

What's not to like?



We would see the pelican again later.



Nevertheless, floating with a pelican down a gorgeous river, through a canyon, and seeing a bear, well...



That's just downright exciting.





I don't care who you are, or where you live.



It's enough to make you want to stand on defunct train tracks under a tunnel created in 1939 under the WPA project. The New Deal. (By the way, the school house in the second picture was built in 1909. That's where we put the boats in... Maudlow. It is pretty much a ghost town now. There is maybe a family or two that still lives there.)



Roosevelt had polio. He drank several martinis a day and he carried on a salacious extramarital affair.



He served four consecutive terms.



The first thirteen miles of this float was through private property. Two landowners. Ted Turner, on one side of the canyon, and some rancher on the other.



The railroad ties and tracks had all been removed.



We didn't see another soul for 11 hours.



Except for the pelican who made it safely past the bear.



I'm not making any of this up.



O.K. Let's take an intermission here.



Breathe.



Take my hand not my picture spill my tincture.



I know most of you are sitting in an office.



Maybe you are at the home computer and you are waiting to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and your kids are finally giving you blissful time to breathe while they slumber.



This is real.



There are bears and pelicans with broken wings and rapids and osprey and swallows and river otter and a big fat beaver scrambling down the bank and diappearing under the brown water while the mortgage accumulates, kids play playstation, countries go to war, innocent people die, money gets made, people get laid, lotteries get played and memories fade.



There are people who choose to pursue a weed-free lawn.



There are those who don't mind dandelions.



There are those who balance their checkbook.



There are those who run after bears.



There are those who inch along as best they can.





There are those who bound.



Everybody loves bounding.



Especially enthusiasm.

You know, when it bounds.

Enthusiasm.

Bounding enthusiasm.

Never mind.



It was Stanette's first time in a kayak. She did really well.



We bracketed her, one leading, one trailing.



Because when you are that far from civlization, a little mistake can get big in a hurry.



She dumped once in a rapid.



She came up cold, shivering and scared, but no worse for wear than Tina Turner after she fell down the stairs. Twice.



I kid. I kid.



Stanette is fine. She dug it out like a champion. 11 hours of paddling is a Bee Eye Itch, my friends.



My shoulders, back and legs hurt like hell today. All we did was lay around and watch Smokin' Aces ((very good)), cook pizza (((even better))), watch The Sopranos ((((better yet)))), Entourage (((((a bit of a let-down, actually))))), play some music to practice for our Cinco De Mayo gig ((((((elderly woman for the turnstiles you shook me all night long)))))) and go to bed (((((((aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh))))))))).



I admire resiliency.



Keith Richards is resilient.



Don't let the past remind us of what are we are not now.

I am not dreaming.



Are you still listening?



You can tear yourself in two, trying to get ahead, trying to tell it like it is...



This is happening.

We're supposed to be just fine.



The waiting can drive you mad.



They tell you to be patient. Keep your nose to the grindstone.



Believe it or not, it was illegal to fish this river at this time. So we didn't. But sweet jesus. We sure could have. Flies were flitting around and dropping on the river by the hundreds. You had to keep your mouth closed, lest you inhale an insect.



Absolutely nothing's changed.



Fish can flop, a snowboarder can drop...



Into a bowl, a bowler rolls, I confess, I'm a mess, others want, not me, because I am free, asleep on my feet, staring at my shoes...



Floating way up high, over the clouds and the skies above, piloting a balloon, riding away, over the day...



Memories scratching, under the shoulder blade, just out of reach. Scrabbling for a wooden spoon, and ohhhh, oh, oh, oh, oh, jesus that's it, right there, right there, right there, somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, between a sneeze, an orgasm and hitting the sweet spot with a Q-Tip in your ear.



You know.



Like when you scratch your dog's back and his back leg reflexively tries to scratch behind his ear.



Like when you are just trying to lay back and chill.



Not paddle, man. I'm trying to chill.



Checking out the caves and contemplating some spelunking.



I'd spelunk that.



I'd back it up and spelunk it twice.



This sure seems like a long post. It was my Saturday. And what else do you have to do anyway?





We kicked out onto the Missouri and observed the detritus of man.



"NOLS" stands for National Outdoor Leadership School.



Acheivers.







Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

It's Monday.

Keep your head down, don't look up.

Be a good soldier. Protect the queen and preserve the hive.

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11 Comments:

Blogger b-lain said...

very nice dude.

looks like you had a goooooood time.

I might stop on my through today, so answer your phone.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Tanaya said...

Although you would never know it now, there was another railroad town called Lombard right where 16 Mile comes into the Missouri. Your trip through on the kayaks was much more scenic and less rattlesnake infested (I'm sure) than the day my dad, stepmom and I walked in on the railroad grade.

There are some knarly piles of bat dung in those tunnels.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Quagmire said...

Great post Joe. Fan-fucking-tastic, in fact.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Very good.

These are the good old days.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J,

Thanks for the post. It made my day.

CARP

5:33 PM  
Blogger sAssY brOwn said...

Recognition of a moment, while in the moment, can sometimes be as valuable as the moment itself.

That's golden.

6:13 PM  
Blogger hotlipz said...

Are those little boats inflatable???

11:36 AM  
Anonymous P. said...

Awesome pictures and commentary. Stanette looks like a natural in the kayak. You, Dude, have some kind of amazing gastrocnemius going on there.

Signed,
Checkbook Balancer/aka Incher of Alongs/aka Laundry Load Switcher

9:12 PM  
Anonymous ej said...

Nice, Dude.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous jeff said...

You know your readers too well. I am indeed sitting at my desk in an office, topped with fluorescent lights in their rattling metal cages, surrounded by gray-green cubicle walls and calendars and charts and what would be stacks of papers if I only stacked them. And for about 10 minutes, I found myself on a river thinking about a pelican, three friends, and the great joy of being. Then the phone rang -- not mine, but enough to snap the trance -- and I was back in my chair, wearing my suit, and listening to the lights vibrate. Thanks for giving me those 10 minutes, jb

3:51 PM  
Blogger sparky said...

You make me so jealous. Hopefully, we'll be out there soon.

2:25 PM  

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