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Quiet water

From the March 2022 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Clouds scudding out of the north . . . 
The waves beat against the bow,
water splashes across the gunwales,
gathering at our feet.
Our canoe felt so small
as we paddled into the headwind
on that big bay of Basswood Lake.

My friend, the better paddler,
sat in the stern, holding us straight.
In the bow, I couldn’t let up.
Push the paddle down, through, and up.
Down, through, and up.
Every inch forward had to count for something.
Yet, whenever I stole a quick look
at the trees bending along the shoreline,
it seemed as though we must be standing still.

And then, somehow, we had rounded the point ahead.
Into the lee—a settled calm now.
How could it have made such a difference—
feeling trapped by all that wind,
yet then just turning to the east beyond that sloping promontory?
Quiet water—
only the breeze high above
brushing through the tops of the pines,
three eagles watching from the branches.

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