Hardly ever does a trip to Grammy and Grampy’s house go by that Asher does not pillage a storage shed and unearth some rare treasure. This week’s visit was no exception. In the east open-face shed, between the well-pulling supplies and the old tires, he found Aunt Sue and Uncle Mitch’s old canoe. And of course we really need a canoe here at the VX. So we loaded it into the horse trailer and hauled it home over 40 miles of dirt road.
Though the VX is positioned in dry, short-grass country, we actually do have some ponds here that we’d been wanting to explore. The ponds are man-made — a previous owner undertook an ambitious culvert-and-dike project on the seasonal Porcupine Creek back in the ’70s. The project’s intention, we think, was to silt in hay meadows along the creek. Instead, as often happens, the afore-mentioned visionary didn’t live long enough to see the project through, and over the years it wasn’t kept up. Today’s result: the creek is a bit of a mess going through the VX, littered with an oft-uncrossable series of ponds filled with stagnant water and lined by dead trees, cattails, and reed grasses.
These ponds start not far from our back door and aren’t exactly a safe place for a 5- and 3-year-old to play, so for the most part our family has ignored them.
But a 5-year-old can only ignore a pond for so long. So that’s why he needed the canoe.
And by golly he managed to talk Daddy into setting sail on the pond nearest our house yesterday. Daddy first took Asher and Emi for a canoe ride, and then baby Marsi and I rode along for round two. And you know what? The water wasn’t as stagnant as I was afraid it would be. And it was a beautiful spring evening to be on the water, which was filled with muskrats and ducks. The dead trees surrounding the ponds cast interesting, grotesque shadows on the water in the fading sunset, and the winter-dead cattails didn’t have the unpleasant odor I’d imagined but instead a sweet, earthy smell.
It’s like we have our own swamp to explore right out our own back door here at the VX. And all we needed was Asher’s canoe to help us discover it.
Real quick, a couple Emi-isms to wrap up the day:
- “Mom, I think Bruddy has a case of the not-like-his-life-jacket.” (This is true. He is a little free bird and has never been a fan of the life jacket. Still, we insisted — and his pouting subsided once we were in the water.)
- “You my best mommy. I not gonna give up on you.” (Not sure what inspired this sentiment. I must’ve really been testing her patience. Still, I’m thankful she’s not giving up.)
© Tami Blake