It was there, in the narrow space just above my cold still heart that I first noticed it: the ember was out.
Sitting on the bank of the river Mark pulled in a deep breath and was still for a second and I knew he was about to say something.
“We need to kayak this river.”
“When do you want to go?”
We just sat for a second and watched the light dance.
“We could put in up at Powers Ferry, leave my car down at the bluff and probably be out there for a few hours,” he said.
I’m sitting at a Caribou a few days later, just letting my mind wander. I look out at the perfect squares of grass and cement and think about how well everything fits together. One day fits against the next one just so, glued together by a couple hours of TV, a couple beers, a couple friends just sitting around. We’re so well organized.
But then Amy walks in and I get up from my chair, go over and stop thinking and start talking. We talk about anything.
“I feel like I have a phantom limb,” I start.
She smiles back with her lips parted a little and I know she’s going to say something back. She’ll say something clever and offhand.
The next Saturday I’m out on the river in a kayak; Mark’s got his about fifty feet downstream. He’s doing some nice paddling but mostly I just float along and padde sometimes to catch up.
It feels like hiking on a well-worn trail because people are out on this river all the time. It feels like a nice, safe, afternoon adventure and so, at the same time, feels nothing like an adventure. But the clean air smells good and the current is strong so we float on. Somewhere down there in the shade Mark’s car is parked on the gravel and it’s getting hot inside. By the time we sit down on those vinyl seats they’ll burn the back of my legs pretty good.
But that doesn’t matter now. For the next two hours I have a plan and my course is set.
I’ll be OK.