Sunday, November 6, 2005

The World is New... continued

For some of the museum visitors, the memory of that boat would stick, and now and then it would come back and flitter about in their minds. There were people who headed out on the water to race their speedboats up and down the lakes and rivers. They would haul water-skiers or just tear around for the shear pleasure and thrill of it all. Nothing seemed to excite them like a boat wake peeling off behind a fast moving boat. Nothing like the way a boat would bank in a turn...

For others that qajaq memory would stick in a deeper place and wouldn’t go away. I like to think it was old Tomasi poking his hand drill at them like he often did that as he talked. Or maybe it was the way he would lick his boney fingers to moisten the caribou sinew lashing before easing it into a hole in the gunnel. Whatever magic was afoot, things happen. Like the time I was sitting on a dock with old friends, the conversation done, just relaxing, waiting for the sun to go down. Out of the corner of an eye I could see something moving. It was a boat, a kayak, rhythmically moving across the field of vision. Two images began to freeze together qajaq and kayak. Yes, a kayak. I could do that. Perfect.

Was it me or Tomasi who rented a kayak from the local shop? Who was it who found it a bit tippy, but not that bad. Before the day was done I knew I’d buy the boat. By evening I began thinking about paddling it to northern Quebec back to Nunavik. Tomasi was no longer there, but his children and grandchildren were. Wouldn’t they be surprised... Would they even care? Then it was on to build a traditional skin boat and I found Tomasi’s boat in Arima’s book. A circle complete!

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