Angle to Key West: Baudette Library (6/15)

Baudette, MN — June 15, 2012

Baudette’s two bridges across the Rainy River shimmered in the morning sun and I felt strength return to my paddle. Four long days left my upper body a tangle of sore muscle and worn joints. Dull pain greeted every movement, the payment for crossing Lake of the Woods.

I tried to arrive last night, but the wind said no and it forces you to listen sometimes. Instead, I camped on an abandoned dock the current had pushed into a grass island. I thought about Baudette and watched a sea of fireflies melt into the stars of the night sky.

I arrived at Baudette’s dock and pulled everything I had onto the grass to dry in the sun. I lay next to it and watched workers put a fresh coat of paint on the town’s giant fish statue named Willie Walleye. It was the first time I felt warm in four days.

After everything dried, I loaded my equipment back into the boat and rolled it three blocks to the library. I didn’t think anyone in Baudette would touch the kayak if I left it in the park, but even in a small town it’s hard to trust the world with your dreams.

“First time anyone ever arrived with a kayak,” one of the librarians said as I walked in.

I grinned at her.

“I wasn’t sure where to leave it,” I said.

“It’ll be fine out front,” she said. “Don’t worry about it.”

I settled into a big couch with my computer to send a few emails back home letting my parents know I’d survived Lake of the Woods.

“You wouldn’t want an apple, would you?” another librarian asked.

She handed it to me before I could answer.

“Is it ok if I eat it in here?” I said.

“That’s where I’m going to eat mine,” she said, laughing.

The first bite tasted crisp and sweet. I’d been eating peanut butter and granola for two days. The apple disappeared in a few, hungry bites.

Five minutes later she came back.

“Where you staying?” she asked.

“Not sure,” I said.

She smiled at me.

“My name’s Janet,” she said. “My husband Neal and I live just down the street.”

5 responses to “Angle to Key West: Baudette Library (6/15)

  1. I have never met a librarian or a park ranger that was not totally accommodating and into helping me in some way. The tradition continues. Google/Wikipedia/search engines ares fine but give me Janet any day of the week.

  2. Isn’t it amazing how little things like sharing an apple, a smile, a kind word can touch your heart and make it smile……… Smiling with you, D… Thanks, Janet.

  3. Made me tear up … When I saw reports of dead fish along the rivers due to the heat, I got worried and checked your blog. I hope you are OK. I worry about you, though I know I shouldn’t. La perrogativa de tu tía.

  4. “It’s hard to trust the world with your dreams” so true! Yet the world came through pretty nicely with Janet ;)

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