Load two bikes onto the Camry roof rack as far apart from each other as the crossbars permit. In between, the kind of canoe from bargain outdoor stores every summer camp leaning against houses in half overgrown side yard in the Adirondacks, tied down against kids toy blue styro blocks, nylon twine holds the nose secure under the front bumper, the tail to the ironic seeming tow hitch pointing at the Vermont plate. The resulting unkempt mission, we could be going fishing or shooting, it’s true that we have six cans of beer.
We drive to the put in a few hours away, undercarriage bouncing against ruts. Unload, frames stacked in the middle space, wheels secured on top of them, same twine. Push off, distracted current, paddles dipped dipped.
Mist, sandwiches and apples lunch, day warms up. Tell stories, let silence, argue the way we always have since we met in an Intro Philosophy class, like two people who essentially agree. At the end but the halfway, drag the canoe out of the water then flipped into the brush, Kriz builds up the Stumpjumper that he’s had since Junior year, I’m on the Trucker. Dirt roads back to the car, now the river isn’t half the horizon, it’s just another shimmering mote out of the corner of our eyes alongside the farm buildings, the old stone walls, the rural power lines. Ticking along in jeans sweaters and watch caps, cross bridges that we’d looked up at hours before, perceive space as if time’s reversed. Not so much on a bike ride, but riding bicycles for the movement and moment. We’ll dismount, secure them, get in, collect the boat on the way back home.