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The Canoe

Because I knew you were coming I got out this old picture of the two men with their prize buck in the canoe. Take a look at those dogs. Aren’t they magnificent? Sometimes you lose a good dog to a deer goring it.

God gave men their minds to use. And what did they use it for? The idea of the canoe.

Now you can’t say that it was just the birch-bark canoe. And you can’t say it was the walrus skinned kayak. Nor can you say it was only the dugout canoe. There are many inventions of this type of boat all over the world. And not at the same time. Some of the inventions must have been hundreds of years apart.

One of those visitors – – – you know – – – the ones that others send to my cabin to hear my old tales and new lies – – -,well, one of those visitors believes that the idea of the canoe has to be equal to the idea of the wheel.

Another visitor had similar thoughts. He believed that men still had instinct in them. You know – – – instinct – – – like a beagle chasing a rabbit. He believed that the thought of the canoe rests inside all of our brains when we are born. It just takes time and a special person to be able to change that instinct into reality.

Voyager with frame

If that is true – – – which it may very well be – – – then the holder of that brain, and that intuition, also needs to have the skill. He must be able to see the canoe in his mind and be able to use his hands to create it – – – or expand on it like the fellow that came up with this voyaging canoe.

Bull Boat

Not many people can do both. I have found – – – up here in these North Woods – – – that some men can have ideas but are not able to do anything with them.

Other men can’t come up with their own ideas but can build other men’s ideas – – – you know – – – out of wood – – – or stone – – – or clay – – – or iron ore – – – or canvas and wood and nails.


Look, here is a whole book on building a canvas canoe.

Is that what Hammond was talking about in his second book? Heck if I will ever understand all that “born in to” or “position of merit” or “nurturing” stuff. Who the hell ever gets nurtured up here in these unforgiving forests. We nurture ourselves or die.

Oh. There I go again on one of those tangents. Sorry, you did not stop at my cabin to hear me rant. You asked me on your last visit tell you stories about canoe hunting and fishing and trapping.

But there are other joys that can be found in a canoe. Do you know what I am talking about?

NO! I am not talking about taking out a sweet smelling girl in a canoe. What can they do out there on the water? Look pretty and raise their parasols? Chatter away like a chipmunk while you are doing all the work? Interrupting your thoughts while you are trying to read the water for the next fishing trip. NO. That is not what I am talking about.

I am talking about you and a friend getting to some rarely visited places on the Moose River. Or maybe even cutting off of the Moose and going a ways up the Otter.

Fishing on small creek

You know it is not all fun. You have to work at it. Get that canoe through the next set of trees that lay over the creek. Waiting to see that big fishing hole around the next bend – – – or past the next set of impassable trees – – – or dragging the canoe over a large sand bar.

But maybe you have to jump from rock to rock because the creek ends in a pile of boulders.

fishing small stream 2

And you keep on working your way up because you know “There is just bound to be a nice brookie in the next hole.

fishing small creek 3

Then you realize that you have been led on by hope – – – and not by reality.

It dawns on you that this is not much different that chasing one of those sweet smelling parasoled ladies.

And so you call it a day and slide back into the real world in your water chariot.

Tahawas and Tomosky c