‘The Canoeists’ by Rick Bass

The Canoeists by Rick Bass, 2006

The magic trick:

Love, sex, nature

Beautiful story. It’s a love story, but it’s one that blurs and blends its passions. Certainly, as the title suggests, it’s a story about the two canoeists. But it’s also about the love they have for nature. It’s about the freedom and joy and natural state of being they seem to feel when they are together in nature. All of the good feelings and loving vibes get tossed together into one stream, so that it’s impossible to separate. Really wonderful stuff.

And that’s quite a trick on Bass’s part.

The selection:

They would take wine, and a picnic lunch, and fishing tackle, and a lantern. They drifted beneath high chalky bluffs, beneath old bridges, and past country yards where children playing tag on the hillsides among trees above the river stopped to watch them pass. They paddled on, Bone shirtless in the stern and Sissy straw-hatted in the bow, in her swimsuit. When they reached sun-scrubbed bars of white sand next to deep, dark pools, around the bend from any town or road, shaded by towering oaks, they would beach the canoe and lie on blankets in the sun like basking turtles, sweating nude, glistening, drinking wine and getting up every now and again to run down to the river and dive in, to cleanse the suntan oil and grit of sand and shine of sex from their bodies.

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