Dog River, just before Rivière des Iles – September 24, 2013
By the third turn, the Dog River lost me in its maze of cattail islands and dead ends. The sun spun from one side of my face to the other. The water didn’t hint at current. The wind came from all directions. Channels branched apart and together again. The river kept twisting, turning, bending back on itself until I felt like I must be doing circles.
Only distant trees marked my path, holding still as I swiveled back and forth. Giving me something to steady myself on as I sunk deeper into the maze.
Ducks exploded out from each new bend. A band of otters watched me pass. Beavers slapped the water and disappeared.
I began picking up a rhythm to the river, a sense for how the main channel swerved, its size, the way the bends feed into each other. My eyes saw things that never registered in my mind, that pushed my hunches one way or the other, transformed guesses into intuition. The river became a game, a labyrinth curving back and forth and somehow forward.
I picked my way along, feeling civilization drop away behind every bend until I felt certain I was the only person for miles and miles, gliding through the cattails on the still, black water into twilight.