We're at a standstillthe river's a stained
glass panel of inverted trees.
Waterstriders distort the image.
The mosquitoes are slower after the first frost,
following the carbon trails of our breath.
They probably won't survive tonight's freeze.
Since the light is almost gone, we dig in.
Struggling oar against oar,
we eventually strike a rhythm,
disturbing the quiet with the slap
of our strokes. The canoe scrapes rock.
I stab the paddle into the shallows
and shove off the bottom.
A blue heron glides downriver,
its long neck like a fluted vase.
Stick-legged and gawky, it lands at the bend.
We pull the paddles in and coast
to see how close we can get.