Instead of writing a poem, I paddled a kayak across the chilly waters of Lake Washington on a perfect Sunday sunny afternoon. Two otters, two eagles, one blue heron, one red-winged blackbird, three yachts, one speedboat and everywhere people onshore: angling, setting out picnic dinners, bicycling, jogging, skate-boarding, tossing stones into the water, tossing sticks for dogs.
I was particularly struck by the collision of nature and the urban world. Overhead, crows harassed the omnipresent eagles, and on the surface of the lake, my companion and I plucked empty plastic bottles — apparently flung by wealthy weekend boaters — from the water.
Drifting in shallows, last year's lily pads hunkered like ghost flowers below the surface, brown and mucky. A single fish leapt and skittered across the water in front of me. Salmon? Trout? Bass? All is mystery beneath my boat.
The way back was heads-down into a breeze, my bow pulling to the right, onto deep and open water. I pulled and pulled on the right to turn to the left, again and again. Thought of the pork slow-cooking in the oven at home, rubbed with salt and cumin and cinnamon and chili powder. Thought of the corn bread, half-prepped, ready for eggs, milk, butter.
Nearing shore, we manoeuvered our slim crafts to beach side-by-side, hoping to avoid last summer's dousing arrival, the spilling-out of each of us into the lake. And success! Legs unfurled, stretched to regain a flow of blood, we stepped onto land with not a drop of water where it didn't belong. Heaved the kayaks to the roof of the car, strapped and buckled-down each one, and paddles & skirts & life-vests tossed in the back.