Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Found A Small Boat

I took a walk in and around the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Maleny here in the Australian state of Queensland. I was enjoying my favorite sort of place, these hybrid places that are neither entirely natural nor entirely the creation of humans.

Along the side of the walkway I found a small boat. It was like boats I'd seen before, but also unlike them. I held it in my hand, feeling its smooth, woody hull, varnishing it with the oils from my palm and fingers. It was light and strong and hydrodynamically smooth: although its shape was somewhat irregular for a boat. I imagined it would sit high in the water were I to launch it, moving as rapidly as the current with very little drag to slow it down.

I don't find boats like this back home in Seattle in the US state of Washington, but here they were plentiful, piled up among the undergrowth like an armada that had met a tragic end. I thought I'd like to carry them all back with me to my home where we don't have this sort of boat.

I was near the shores of the slowly moving Obi Obi Creek, so I carried it down to the water's edge and pushed it out into the flow. It drifted along the line along which I'd released it at first, but then that momentum gave way to the the nature of water moved by gravity and it turned downstream for a bit before being pushed to the shore where it stuck in the mud, no longer a boat, but rather just part of the rest of the debris.

Later I found a pair of similar boats stuck together. I pried them apart and found it was actually a puzzle, the round nut-like pieces falling to the ground and scattering amongst the leaves where there were dozens of other round nut-like pieces that had come from other puzzles. It was a puzzle and I wanted to reassemble it because that's what one does with a puzzle, just as one must launch a boat upon the water. I knelt there for a long time, trying to find the pieces that fit into their unique concavities, turning each one round and round in their empty places, seeking the perfect match.

Finally, I succeeded and experienced the all-is-right-with-the satisfaction of placing the perfectly fitted lid back in its place, the four irregular spheres fitting perfectly inside, together, more snug that peas in a pod.

I teach young children how to see the world and they in turn have taught me.

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