As we skimmed the surface,
you thought the melancholy loons
were lost children
crying for their mothers
and I promised you I would never die.
Even in late afternoon the light
illuminating the stippled river floor
and clarity of thought seemed effortless,
our sense of time
marked only by the dip and pull of paddle.
The water flowed evenly below
reflecting in rivulets the silhouettes of osprey,
rock squirrel, a stolid moose emerging from the thicket.
Floating this route a century
Thoreau wrote that he preferred the blanched and open lakes.
But for me the river was the key,
a lucent tie to something that had run before
or runs beneath,
and the lakes were but a pause along the way.