The boats are in the driveway again. We’re hoping to get out to a river sometime in the next couple of weeks. If we want to go boating, I had to go get the boats. I had no choice. Spring has been slow coming this year, it is setting up to rain again as I write this. Still, as my neighbor points out, just like the flowers blooming, boats in the LaFortune driveway mean Spring is here. I have welcomed the cold wet Spring…it has matched my mood. The bright sunny days, the snow melting out on the bike trails….it is almost too much. It reminds me that summer is coming, and with summer will come many more “firsts”, many more sinkholes of grief. Knowing they are coming helps, but it doesn’t stop them. And yet, I choose to live, so I ride the earth’s tilt into the next season. I have to. I have no choice.
Though Emerald’s birthday was a joyous occasion, driving along the Lochsa last weekend was hard. As I was dipping into melancholy, we came across a catarafter with his thumb out. I picked him up (I had Jasper to protect me :-)) He had just completed the entire 27 miles with a buddy whose eyes were saucer like. This rafter and his wife will be turning the corner from Middle Fork to Main in mid-June if the water is not too high. He is a second husband to his wife that lost her first husband, 2 children and a friend in a horrific car accident in Italy. She now has a 3-year-old son. She boats. If I want to go on, I need to boat too…I have to, I have no choice. There will be sinkholes. I will never again sit at Lochsa Falls with my heart in my throat, waiting for Jim’s boat to come around the corner.
Both of my children equate their lives with rivers. Emerald wrote an essay that was published on the Lochsa River and her dad, and Jasper paralleled his life to the Middle Fork in his English auto-biography. Jim wanted his ashes spread at the Lochsa Grotto. We have to keep boating, we have no choice.
And so, I picked up the boats from the warehouse. I learned a new way to tie them down. I drove them into town. I got the tires on the trailer up to pressure at Les Schwab. I then went to the parking lot where both of my children learned to ride bikes without training wheels. I backed the trailer. I swore. I cried. I backed it again, and again, and again. I kinda get it now. I still don’t wanna tackle parking it at the Middle Fork put in, but I think I could get it down a boat ramp. I brought it home. I backed it into place in front of the tree. It made my neighbor happy for the assured sign of Spring. I just had to do it. I had no choice.
When I first posted about my inability to back a trailer, I got feedback. Emerald said she would do it….but she doesn’t live here now. One of her rafter friends said when I could do it, I would be one bad a– chica. But, I’ve never been a bad a– chica, and am not sure I want to be. I’ve led a privileged life. Someone else has always taken care of the trailer hubs, the oars, the frames, and backing the God damn trailer. Even when Jim’s driving license was revoked due to seizures, I gave him the keys at the boat ramp. I’ve been happy to pack the kitchen and the food. But….I need to boat. So, I have to learn the gear, and how to back a trailer. I have to. I have no choice. I choose to live.