Small Town Magic

Saturday was a morning brimming with small moments. To start, I finally dragged myself down to the river for sunrise. I missed the peak of it, but what I saw wasn’t too shabby! Another bonus was that my friend, Roger, was there. Between one thing and another, it had been months since we’d bumped into each other and shared time enjoying the waterfront, the birds, and each other. We spent some time taking photos, catching up and sharing recent sightings. After a spate of overcast days and a day-long torrent of rain, everything had that sparkly newly-washed look. The air was fresh and the sun was warm. It was a glorious morning!

When I returned home, I popped on line. This spring I’d signed up to get notices about rowing outings that a local man was offering. A Facebook post from the night before caught my eye. It was an offer to anyone interested in going out for a row. I checked the date and time and realized it was scheduled for that morning.

Could I?
Should I? ….

Well, why not!?

With a few quick messages back and forth, I was signed up to be the fifth rower–that meant I’d be along for the ride for the first half of the journey and then take my turn on the return. I got my things together and hustled down to the town landing. By eight am our all-woman crew was gathered. After some introductory tips and safety information, Peter had us get started. With little fanfare and some trepidation (at least on my part!), we slipped away from the dock and into the river.

The language of rowing was all new to me. “Oars ready. All ready. Row.” “Hold water.” I listened intently, hoping I’d be able to put this all into practice when my turn came around. Since I was a spectator at this point, I got to watch the transformation as each rower gained in confidence. I also got to look at the scenery and snap a few photos–a definite plus!

We rowed under the bridge and up river, scattering a few cormorants away. There are no houses on the river up this way and it’s easy to imagine yourself alone in the wilderness. The banks of the river were lush, green and occasionally dotted with muskrat dens. Blue skies, water and green spilled out in every direction–a visual feast.

Peter patiently gave tips and directions. It was all very low-key and low-pressure. At one point, he told everyone to close their eyes and listen. To try to hear and feel the rhythm– one (hopefully!) splash as the oars entered the water. The clunk of the oars in the oarlocks and then the pause and repeat.

Splash. splash. Ka-Clunk. ka-clunk. Pause.

Splashsplash. Ka-Clunkclunk. Pause.

As the moment stretched out, I could hear the oars synchronize. Fall into place.

Splash. Ka-Chunk. Pause.

Splash. Ka-Chunk. Pause.

I could have spent a long time sitting, listening, feeling that rhythm. Getting lost in it. It was hypnotic and somehow, deeply soothing. Even though I knew the scenery around me was beautiful, I was reluctant to open my eyes again. When I finally did though, the day seemed even more dazzling.

A while later, I finally got my chance to row and managed not to disgrace myself. It took a lot of concentration though! My eyes were locked on the oar in front of me, trying to time my stroke correctly. I quickly realized how fortunate I’d been to sightsee along the way, as my focus was definitely elsewhere on the return.

We arrived back at the dock to find the farmer’s market in full swing. Peter guided us in smoothly and skillfully. After effusive thanks to him and goodbyes to the crew, I was unable to resist the lure of our local bread maker. I picked up golden raisin oatmeal sunflower bread and a few hot-from-the-oven almond croissants. Could this morning get any better? Then, I bumped into a prior colleague and we talked shop and kayaks. Finally, as I left, I saw a small troupe of kids headed into the center of the market. Story time was starting!

I drove back home, feeling deeply grateful. How lucky am I to live in this place!?

Small town magic was working overtime this morning and I was lucky enough to be a recipient.

19 thoughts on “Small Town Magic

  1. Ann Maynard says:

    Roger says congratulations on your boat ride!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jessica says:

    Way to seize the day. I’ve never been rowing and was right there with you. This seems like a beautiful place to live.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Denise Krebs says:

    Oh, Molly, small town magic is right. Your post really expressed the magic. And you did it at the last minute–that was such an important piece. Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maryleehahn says:

    That middle part where you describe the gradual synchronization of the oars is magical! I was right there with you! Way to seize the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your small town magic makes it clear that Maine is the way life should be, at least for others of us small town folk. This line took me on the row with you. “Getting lost in it. It was hypnotic and somehow, deeply soothing.” At our gym, Hannah gets in such rhythm when she takes to the rowing machine. Imagine if she was in the wild.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kd0602 says:

    Wow! What a morning! I’m so glad you got to enjoy the view on the way out on your boat ride…your photos are beautiful! Thanks for sharing your magical ability to pay attention and paint gorgeous pictures with your words (and your camera). Kim

    Liked by 1 person

  7. margaretsmn says:

    You captured this lovely adventure and the timeless sense of a summer day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tim Gels says:

    What an incredible day! “Yay!” for you taking the leap and getting back for the rowing opportunity. I’m looking forward to the poem that comes out of that trip on the river. In so many ways, the river is a poem, and rowing is a poem. So much beauty in that day — thank you for sharing it with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, small-town magic is surely seen in your slice that flows with each line. The last sky photo looks like a watercolor. You captured the beauty of the day and your words sunk me deeper into sharing the events with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] my first rowing experience (here), I was eager for another opportunity to get on the water. When Peter, our local rowing guru, […]


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