Comforted by pale, blue Panama hat

Jun. 10, 2014 @ 07:03 PM

It is early in the day and the water is still and the breeze is late and the sky is an ember orange.

There is dew on the lazy and east-leaning grass and her steps are soft. The rains played against her window and this place, and the air is clean and the pond is clear and there is a vapor of steam lifting and disappearing, and for a moment she is lost and paused.

She is easy with the canoe. She rolls it carefully and gently coaxes this solitary vessel upright, and it floats here in the shallows. She is barefooted and the pole is in her hand and with a step that is both reluctant, and with purpose she steps inside while her following foot shoves off from the warm, batter-like, mud.

Her vessel is onward, and with a gentle disruption she leans somewhat into the stroke and moves this canoe away from the mud and the shallows and she becomes one with the rolling wrinkle of water, spreading merciless and further and retreating as wrinkles of water do.

She casts. She retrieves. She hums, and she is silent. She is neither old nor is she young. She is pale skin in winter and golden when the sun finds her skin in May. She is worried about and cared for and thought of and checked on, and she is strong with will and fond of independence.

She comes here on warm mornings and the batter like mud reminds her. She comes here in the evening and the vapors soothe her. She comes here because the fish don’t mind if she doesn’t fish. The canoe is red and her dress today is green and she wears the blue, Panama hat, always.

She casts. She watches. She casts again.

She forgets.

From where she keeps the pen and the leather-bound journal, she allows a foot to be cleansed by the water and her soul to be lifted like the vapors. It is early in the day and it is late in her years and she writes of the birds and the soft grass, and the bass she knows lives under the decayed branch, which she refers to as Susan.

The ember grows and the vapors thin and the breeze is tardy no more.

She is one stroke and three more, and the canoe is light and easy and the warm mud and the soft grass soothe her foot. She lifts the rod and rolls the canoe and her Panama hat shades her face now and her skin begins to golden. The grass is dry and the breeze is well known, and she follows a familiar path away from the burning ember and the warm mud and from where a bass waits beneath the decaying branch.

Away from the water and the grass and the breeze and the rising vapors, the pale, blue, Panama hat covers her journal and her world inside.

Enjoy your time outdoors.

You may reach Herald-Sun outdoors columnist Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.