First off, I would like to dedicate this post to my sister, Alex. It is her 28th birthday today. As children we shared connecting rooms, yet somehow managed to live completely separate lives. Mine involving dolls, playing house, wearing pink, dancing around in leotards playing “boyfriend/girlfriend” with all my friends. While Alex galloped on all four’s playing animals when she wasn’t digging into my dads tools, getting dirty, or inventing something brilliant. Naturally an artist and an engineer, she taught me how creativity, brains, and curiosity, are what makes someone beautiful. As her little sister, I was jealous of her inventions, her brains, her solitude, and imagination. I made up for this by being a socialite and pretending I didn’t have a brain. It wasn’t until we were adults, that my sister helped me find these traits I had been hiding all along. Thanks sis, Happy Birthday.
Lake Oneida is hot dog shaped, and shallow. We were aware of it’s shallow depths before crossing it, but having family in the area steered us towards a lake front property where Joe, a friends of my cousin Erin lived. Joe offered us his dock space in which there was of course, no turning down. When I asked if there was enough depth at the dock, Joe said “Well, I’m just over 6 feet tall and the water’s up to my chest… so I think you’ll be all right.”
When nearing Joe’s property we bumped bottom a boats length from the dock. With some tiller thrusting, throttle wiggling, and ballast readjusting we were afloat again. In a field of weeds my height, the depth sounder was picking up the dancing plants instead of the ground, leaving me with inaccurate readings. Time and time again we tried different ways to approach the dock, but we never made it those last 30 feet without the earth blocking our way. Finally we said, “Okay, this is fine then.” Dropped the hook right there, and ran a line to the dock so we wouldn’t swing circles into what could have been even more shallow. Gently Louise snuggled the lake floor as mini wind-waves rose her up and back down again kissing her keel.
After two days visiting with family and new friends in Lake Oneida, we excavated Louise off the ground and passed through the remainder of the lake until being funneled into the Oswego canal. The Oswego canal held the last series of locks before entering Lake Ontario. Just a few days from being able to dive into the Great Lakes once again.
In between Oneida and Ontario we found ourselves oddly entertained. Lock walls to tie to every night for free. Fresh water to bath in. Peculiar towns that fed my ravenous appetite for ice cream. We found trees to climb and trails to walk. As well as an exceptional hike through mossy forests and ancient rocks crafted by glaciers. When running out of entertainment, I let Katie cut off my ponytail. My hair met my chin, and I spent days mocking myself for having a “mom” haircut. Katie kept reassuring me that I did not look like a mom. I think it was because she was the one who gave me my new “do”, and was proud of her hair cutting ability. In a weird way, I was too, she actually did pretty good. However, when I saw the reflection in our standard paper sized mirror that cuts me off at my chest, I only saw one thing – my mother.
Not a day later we were tied to a lock wall in an odd upstate NY town with plans to walk 3 miles to Walmart purely for amusement. A tattered woman walked by with a grocery cart, and looked to Katie who was standing on the bow, “Honey, do you have any empty cans? I am collecting cans.”
“We don’t, Im sorry. Check back later, we might have some” she responded knowing the day would most likely end with beers. The woman continued to push her cart in my direction. This time she looked to me, smiled, and said
“If it’s okay, I am going to check back later to see if you have any empty cans. I just asked your daughter, and she said you don’t have any now.”
I smiled back, and in my most motherly voice I responded “Of course it’s okay.”
Katie and I died laughing. She thought I was Katie’s mom. Later that day, I got my mommy-hack-job hair do, trimmed up by a gal at Walmart who did not have the most fabulous hack job herself.
Reaching the Great Lakes…
In the center of Lake Ontario…possibly overflowing with pride knowing how far we have come. It was nearly two years ago we waved goodbye to these lakes. And now here we are re-entering them as different people. As women who confidently move forward aware of consequences, with a full understanding of what we have left behind and what could lie ahead. Without words Katie and I operate. Without questions we carry on. Without answers we are eager.
We could not have chosen a better day to cross this lake. The mast still lays on the deck. It wouldn’t take much to stir up this massive body of water and test the durability of the cradle holding it in place. Instead, we are drifting over a sheet of glass that only presents itself as a body of water based on the ripples Louise leaves behind. I can barely find the seam where the water meets the sky. If I didn’t know any better, I would assume we were on a different planet. One where horizons do not exist.
Multiple species of bugs, have hitched a ride in the cockpit since sunrise. They don’t look to be making moves any time soon. Like me, they look in every direction and see nothing. A different planet. Why would they leave? Everything we need to live is right here. At first I was perturbed by these bugs, but then my mom haircut helped me understand that all the little bug children just needed a place to rest. I could hear them crying at me in octaves higher than a human can even register “Can we stay? Please? Mommm, is it okay if we stay? We have no where else to go.” And then silently, I responded in my motherly voice “Of course it’s okay.” I suppose we can all check into Canada together.