Several years ago, a friend recommended River-Horse by William Least Heat-Moon which details the author’s four-month journey across the United States by boat.
There are a handful of authors whose work has left an indelible mark on my soul. WLHM is one of them. His gift for writing, coupled with the romantic notion of building oneself a boat and navigating the nation’s waterways from the Atlantic to the Pacific, are a winning combination. On many levels, River-Horse is a work of art I will never forget.
Coincidentally, this past July 4, the kids, my wife, and I found ourselves floating on a lake in the Pocono region of Pennsylvania.
Since I met her, I have benefited from nearly year-round access to my wife’s family’s house on said lake, which is idyllically located, with multiple forms of watercraft and a fairly dependable stock of beer in the garage fridge.
Rather than rush ourselves off the lake and over to the local amusement park to entertain the kids, I made the command decision to linger. So we filled up the tank, repaired the dash, and lazily savored the fresh air, blue sky, and cottony clouds floating just above the tree line whilst navigating watery nooks and crannies, hidden coves, and undulating wakes from extensive holiday boat traffic.
*** No agenda. No schedule. No rush. ***
We in a boat, a few handfuls of Snyder’s of Hanover to tide us over until “lunner/dinch,” and some cold Dr. Peppers in the cooler.
Take a dip in the lake.
Take a ride in the tube.
Ready to go?
So we did just that.
What started as a collective moan about ditching the amusement park became enthusiastic pleading to keep forging ahead, reach the end of the lake, go as far and as long as we possibly could.
If I could stop time, I would have frozen the moment we eased up on the throttle so as not to create a wake and glided along the glass-like surface ahead of us, our voices lowered as if in respect of this quiet, wonderful, new section of unexplored lake that became our mini adventure, not unlike Least Heat-Moon’s, and which will endure, I suspect, in all of our memories.