On a wintry, sunless day in Michigan, when the snow lies deep, and the trees are bare, it feels good to close my eyes and remember one sunny afternoon, just a few months ago, floating down the Erie Canal, as we came to the end of our three-week adventure aboard our wooden, homemade houseboat.
Here’s what I penned as I sat on the bow, homeward bound…
I sit on the bow under a cloudless sky, no sound save for the quiet drone of the engine and the occasional song of an elusive bird.
We glide through turquoise, led by a belted kingfisher, its flashes of blue darting from bank to bank ahead. Sunlight peeps through trees as water gurgles underneath, and we ride the ripples past tall purple flowers that stand to attention on the bank, with three little ducks for company.
Our journey is watched with interest by a long-legged, and beady-eyed great white egret. Her reflection stands immobile as we pass by.
And even though this canal was carved and hollowed by human hands, this is still God’s creation we traverse. I soak up His trees, His skies, His water, His world. And I wonder why it is that anyone should pay for entertainment, when all this beauty is free.
When all I have to do is sit and spectate, like the birds assembled on their front row seat high above my head.
And here, I think I know how one might be inspired – by the sight of a simple yellow daffodil, like Wordsworth, or the glimpse of a small silver fish, like Walter de-la-Mare; and how strong is the urge to pick up the pen and create something of beauty, something of note, something as pretty as leaves shimmering over still waters on a Thursday afternoon.