In a Canoe and Under Some Trees

“Quick now.”

I dug my paddle blade into the mirror of water and pulled. The bow glided under the low tree. I meant to lay forward but our speed forced me backward. Grey branches passed over my face, and the leaves brushed my nose and cheeks.

At the waterline the trunk of each tree may have exceeded the girth of my thigh by a bit. I have no idea how wide they might have been two meters down where they sunk into the riverine silt. Almost immediately three to four to five forearm-sized branches radiated out from each trunk and branched quickly and frequently to put as many leaves as possible under the sun. These trees created such a shallow umbrella over the water that if I stood in the canoe most came to my waist and the tallest I could see reached my chest. They looked like green cobblestones. Among the branches a wren might easily find refuge in the tight weave, but Chiggory monkeys were forced to walk over the tops reaching down through the hedge to find fruit. The whole of our canoe fit under each tree.

We paddled at a steady pace and only occasionally had to duck under. My guide followed a memory map or instinct. Or maybe she read blazes on the trees I couldn’t see. Never once did we slow; only twice did she stand.

241 words on day 609