A Payne Hollow Visit

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least - and it is commonly more than that - sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. ~Henry David Thoreau

My Photo
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, United States

"An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition... A contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says." "No, it's not..."-Monty Python

Friday, March 20, 2015

Frozen In

Picking out a spot where the beach was widest, the anchor was carried out on shore and additional heavy lines run to trees further up the bank. There was no time for dinner that day. I placed the longer gangplank along the outside of the hull to protect it from the ice, hauled the ice-coated johnboat out on shore, cut a supply of firewood. By evening the ice in the river was heavy. The boat shuddered when the floes hit and ground along the side. Then, in the quiet, we went on reading until the next shock. Before long, however, there was an unbroken stillness - we were frozen in.

The situation did not alarm us. There was solid ice for several rods out from shore, but beyond was open water and moving ice. The shore was a sandy, gently sloping beach, in a wide, straight reach of river. The winter weather was glorious. The river of ice sparkled under the bright sun and moon. There was a tall stack downriver on the opposite shore, and its smoky pennant lay always away from the northeast.

More snow fell.

Then came a day when the slow pace of the floating ice became halting and intermittent. At last all motion ceased. The river became a new creation, a vast snowy plain, its smooth surface broken by low heaps and ridges of ice. The dogs scampered about in this new snow field and we walked far across the river to the other shore. It was a Siberian landscape.

Our first contact with the natives was a visit from an old man who was as hale as winter itself. He was very friendly, offered his services, but his opinion was that we were in a bad spot...

~From Harlan Hubbard's, Shantyboat, A River Way of Life, published 1977 by University Press of Kentucky


Post a Comment

<< Home