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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Loose Ends

As we approached the train bridge running through the heart of the industrial hub, Decatur, a man named Jack and his family pulled along side us in their boat. They gave us the invite to come by their river cabin to camp and wash up. Naturally we weaseled our way inside as we always do through conversation and eccentric presentation. We spent the evening with the Stone family, hearing stories of their long linage within the neighborhood. From tales of business to legends on the waterways, they gave us the authentic experience of an old town laced with family history.

Old Porcelain Bath 
Bill and Stacey (jacks parents) owned a cabin on the river, which they graciously handed over to us for the evening. Jack treated us to dinner and took the liberty of showing us his toy house, fully equipped with a Ford Model T, 13 boats, toys for the kids, camping gear; the outdoors-mans dream. He expressed the importance of passing on the lifestyle of his parents to his children - unplugging from the matrix and spending time outside, living life, and taking a risk. Compile you dreams and most importantly live them.

Model T

The following day, Nolan and I paddled on like ducks. A local TV station wanted an interview so we pulled off to shore for the account. The newsman, Al W. was very accommodating and wanted to make sure we had the things we needed. He was on the scene for more than a story, he wanted to join the adventure. He passed my phone number off to a friend down river knowing she would reach out.

I received a call the next day by Al's friend, Susanne B. We got to talking, and she had been riding the river on the lookout for us just to say hello and give us some food. She also wanted to know where we would be the following day so she could bring us breakfast. Al had informed her of our torment by chiggers and fleas tearing our sweet northern flesh into road rash chicken skin. She made the offer to come drive out to wherever we may be to buy us new sleeping bags and help us eradicate the parasites. Only on the river can you meet people of such generosity. There is this romance for the Tennessee River and everyone on it thrives and shares this warmth. Its a fellowship based not around money or things, but on the freedom and companionship of the water and it's people.

The Stone Cabin

Jack, Mr and Mrs Stone
Not 24 hours after talking to Susanne I received a surprising email from her; A letter filled with exclamation points and the words "oh my god" popping off the page. Susanne had seen a post I made on Facebook with pictures of Nolan and I with the Stones. She enlightened me to the fact that the Stones and her are long lost friends. Memories flashed before her eyes as she saw pictures of the very same Ford Model T she rode in the Homecoming Parade 30 years ago. She vividly painted reflections of her long lost high school comrade to me in her letter. Susanne hadn't talked to the Stone family in over 10 years when they lived down in Florida. By the bends of the river they only live 15 miles apart now.

It is quite staggering to imagine the odds (if they even exist) of this conjunction. Each person is a tiny link connecting the 7 billion independents into one interdependent. Distance and separation do not stop the thread of life from weaving us all together in an incomprehensible way. No matter how small or how far, everyone is a piece of the puzzle making the totality of life. Allow The Great Mystery to guide the brush as we paint the canvas of our lives.  

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