Gobi and the Beautiful Canoe
The pond is speckled with a hundred leaves; like stars, they flow across the water. It’s a windy evening—about 7 o’clock—and I’m paddling my dog Gobi in our old red canoe. Gusts of wind draw tree branches back, and the sun is setting into the mountains.
It’s just us, me and Gobi. He has the whole length of the boat to run up and down, but mostly he stays right in front of me. When I stop the boat or speed up too quickly he sometimes slips. Regardless, his excitement overflows just his tail whipping back and forth, and he turns round and round barking as well. He stares intensely at the surface of the pond, looking for leaves, and he often climbs up on the side of the boat, the gunnels, when we get close to some. The gunnels give him a better reach for bending down and trying to bite the leaves, at which point he normally loses interest, dropping one and moving on to the next.
When we stop for the night, he leaps out and immediately begins exploring the banks of the pond, or running all around it. Wading by the shore looking at frogs, fish, and salamanders, he reminds me of how my brother and I, when we were younger, spent hours catching salamanders there.
This is a small pond near our home, and it takes maybe twenty seconds to paddle across. It’s green with the reflection of the tall trees of late summer. While you might think paddling there almost everyday when I’m at home gets stale, Gobi is always a bundle of anticipation, running around and barking. He loves being on the water just as much as I do. I truly believe there’s nothing more beautiful that humans have made than a canoe, and I’ll take any chance to be in one. The pond reminds me of countless days spent on canoe trips on lakes, but it's also beautiful on its own.
Wait, he loves being on the water just as much as I do, you read that, right? We started paddling together during the pandemic last March, and I first took him out as a joke with my mom looking on skeptically from the shore. When he was younger she tried to take him canoeing a few times and he was so scared of the water and the boat that he tried to jump out to shore any time they got close. He ended up soaked and very unhappy. For his whole life he was scared of canoeing and didn’t like to even get his feet wet. His whole perspective has changed, and I don’t know why. He’s thirteen now, and his puppy-like energy and excitement for exploring the pond have finally won, over his fear.