From: St. Louis
I have this favorite memory. From the '70s. I don't remember where the lake was, in the north somewhere, maybe Minnesota or Maine or somewhere in Canada. It was the dusk hour, the water was smooth as glass and there was a pea fog so thick you couldn't see ten feet. And it was dead quiet like when you wake up in the morning early after a heavy snow, and if there's a sound you can hear it like it was a hundred feet away even though it was from hundreds of yards away. Like a tree branch breaking under the weight of snow. I took my mother out on the lake in a canoe, she sat in the front and I in the back paddling. I'd learned in the BSA how a single paddler should do it. Sometimes you see someone doing that and he/she keeps switching hands on the paddle. That's fine if there are two or more paddlers, it gives each arm a rest for a bit and all energy is used efficiently. But if there's just one paddler doing that just makes you zig-zag all over the place and takes a long time to get where you're going. As a lone paddler, you sit in the back, whether you have passengers or not, cargo or not and you do strokes shaped like the letter "J". The top part of the J is the thrust and the bottom the rudder. You feather the paddle just so to keep your course straight and true. I was really good at that and you could barely hear the paddle enter or leave the water. We were in no hurry and we weren't really going anywhere. After we were out on the lake and you couldn't see anything but fog the loons started calling. If you don't know what that sounds like, or even if you do, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ENNzjy8QjU Sometimes one would sound like it was ten feet away but we never saw one. We were probably out for the better part of an hour and I looped around and came back to the same spot where we left even though I could see nothing but fog. I don't get lost easily except in the city.