Saturday, August 21, 2004

Autumn in August

Summer forgot about us. It's cold here in Minnesota. It shouldn't be in the forties in the middle of August, but it is. Poor pumkins. Growers say what are normally the size of basketballs by this time rather resemble golf balls. You probably could get away with growing lettuce or broccoli throughout this summer. It does make me smile though to hear people complain about it. Normally this time of year one hears bitter comments on all sides about the sweltering conditions. Strange and a little bit sad though, to feel it's autumn and hardly have noticed the summer.

Mary and I are going with a group of her friends to Wisconsin tomorrow, to the Bois Brule river. A few days of floating and sleeping on the ground. Will be nice, I think. Nice anyway to wake up smelling like wood smoke, damp or not. Showers predicted for each day :) Going to miss a couple of classes though, which feels irresponsible.

Bois Brule, Mary's dad informs me, means burnt wood in French. Apparently it was what French settlers called Native Americans, once upon a time. So far removed from the time and the daily usage, it is impossible to know if it was used with derision, if it was pejorative, or not. Funny thing about words. I'm told the section of river we'll follow has lots of Class I and II rapids, with a couple of Class III. I, of no experience on rivers, will be walking around the last I think. No one ever drowned--or lost one's kit--on a portage. Brule empties into Lake Superior and that is where we finish. Something deeply satisfying about that. Even if you don't leave from the headwaters, following a stream till it gives up to something greater has a beauty to it.

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