I hadn’t paddled solo in decades, but today took a canoe out for a spin on Lake Massawippi, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. I only paddled for about 90 minutes, staying close to the shore, the better to gawk shamelessly at the spectacular country homes and boathouses along the shoreline. (The boathouses were bigger than many Manhattan apartments.)
There is something deeply satisfying about moving across the water using a polished piece of wood only six inches wide — and your own strength. Canoeing is silent, calm, soothing. You can slice the paddle back and forth in the water, when necessary, to avoid the tell-tale splash of your next stroke.
I admired the butter-yellow mansion, the gray house, the one with an entire point covered in white birches, the one whose dock flies French, Italian, Canadian and French flags.
I dipped into a narrow cove just as a wet, brown furry head sped past me about 10 feet away, a beaver. As I came back out, there was another one.
I told the sweetie how great it was and how I was now planning a solo trip; he doesn’t swim, so any water-based activities are a little scary. But now he wants to come, too.
Nothing like a J-stroke to bring a couple together.