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Pays de L’eau #1 by James Morehead

July 3, 2011

Pays de L’eau #1

by James Morehead

mom leaves us packed with sleeping bags
warm wrapped blankets
rain slicks boots scarves clothes doubled socks
aspirin tums cough syrup decongestant
a flashlight
a few hugs and kisses
dad and i wave goodbye
                                        to a dust covered station wagon
waiting anxiously for our motorboat taxi
waiting to enter


base camp holds reminders of home
real toilets
                 toilet paper
running water
real beds
we appreciate them
two days before the journey
the wilderness on all sides doesn't seem real
we wait as other sons and fathers arrive
we read and snooze and kick ass in ping pong
i wonder
why leave this behind
to sleep in a tent on a rock?


john and marty are in charge of us
we help them prepare ten days of food
tightly packed wooden boxes
                                               they call them wannigans

                          salted meat
                       portioned cereal
                   pancake mix dry milk
              carefully sorted ordered layers
                       each layer a meal
             each meal and serving assigned

i think we might save time
by eating everything before we leave
                                                            marty smiles
he talks with john about portages
i wonder if they taste good


john leads us to the dock
to a line of wooden canoes

" don't stand up!
   step in
   use both hands
   for safety
   stay low "

we paddle in rhythmic strokes
leaving whirlpool swirls twirling behind us
tum this way
pull in
          sweep out

Next in Pays de L’eau…

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