Thursday, April 15, 2010

A death in the family ...

... of sorts.

My beloved canoe, Nuannaarpoq, was a victim of our big winter. The 16-foot Dagger Legend, named for the Innuit word that means something like "to show great joy at being alive" (culled from Barry Lopez' staggering work of nonfiction Arctic Dreams), had carried myself, my gear, my beer, members of my family, and assorted sordid bowmen/barmen/comrades-at-paddle (although not all those at once) down many a river and across many a broad reach of open lake and on many an epic, and sometimes leisurely, journey. She also had joined us on several of our summer epics, including across western and northwestern Canada, to Alaska and back, and around Wisconsin and the Upper Penninsula Michigan.

For the past several winters, Nuannaarpoq had hibernated alongside the garage. Yes, on the north side, and, true, under the overhang of the garage's Pro-panel roof, but this was never a problem as its durable Royalex hull withstood everything any our drought-year winters could dump on her.

Not this El Nino winter, though.

(This, even, though I smartly placed two pieces of particle-board ping-pong table resting at a angles along her bulging center to protect her from the couple-hundred tons of compacted snowpack that accumulated six-feet deep upon her plastic carcass. Careful: Genius at Work.)

She suffered a severely creased hull, a split of the interior wall, and a general permanent bending toward river left.

So, basically, as early as I managed to flip my boat to start last year's river season (less than three minutes), this year I managed to broach my boat before I even hit the water.

I will endeavor to revive her for whatever she can handle -- perhaps she'll enjoy a retirement of ever-veering to the left whilst doing some lazy reservoir fishing. Still, aside from the sudden lack of means of paddling, on an emotional level it's a loss as bittersweet and wrenching as that of any kin. There's something about gear. Especially well-traveled and travel-worn gear. Each blemish is a story, and every scuff, scrape, ding, gouge, and repair represents a strand of our own life's DNA.

And each loss, a small death -- a mortitio -- in the family.

1 comment:

  1. R.I.P.

    p.s. I used to build these Dagger boats... so I have seen the "birth" of many of them.... hard to witness a death.