On building a sea kayak in Montana

For six years I have been working on making a 14-foot mahogany sea kayak in Montana, partly for the same reasons that I wrote a thesis on Czech monks.  It’s been delayed a few times.  It’s not wise to work with epoxies below 45 degrees or so, and it’s not wise to work with large amounts of epoxy when you’re pregnant, or nursing.  There’s been some overlap.  And a few other projects.  It’s actually tremendously practical and efficient — lightweight, tough and personally reparable, not to mention hot and gorgeous.  Plenty of gear storage, perfect for oceans, lakes, reservoirs and many rivers, excellent for accompanying river rafts.  It could take on Lake Yellowstone, the Missouri, the Yellowstone River, certainly the Madison for ditching school for an hour.  I can practice rolls in our swimming hole down on the Gallatin.  Plenty of other littler rivers at the right water levels.  I like the distance more than gymnastics, but this little lovely’s got excellent secondary stability and rolls like a seal, even fully loaded.  And time was, this was the center of a huge inland sea.  It’s a tribute.

So it’s there, waiting to be finished, about 30 hours left of work, not counting drying epoxy.  It will happen.  I soothe myself at night, feeling the ghost ship seize my hips like hands, efface my legs, hearing it whisper, “…upside down, just one more time, come on…how about a hand roll…” and fall asleep to dream of a woman who is a cat, and ashes, and wheat and light.

Oar [1990, by ?]

Walk inland and inland
with your oar,
Until someone asks you
what it is.

Then build your house.

For only then will you need to tell and know
that the sea is immense and unfathomable,
that the oar that pulls
against the wave
and with the wave
is everything.


About Lorca Smetana

White doves. Retreats. Insects. Languages. Making.
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One Response to On building a sea kayak in Montana

  1. Cherilyn says:

    Ah, the things we create that in turn birth something in us . . .

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