crocodiles in the rivers of maine … hey mr thoreau!

Now sounding in vain for a bottom in fifteen feet of water, while the boat falls back several rods, held straight only with the greatest skill and extertion; or, while the sternman obstinately holds his ground, like a turtle, the bowman springs from side to side with wondeful suppleness and dexterity, scanning the rapids and the rocks with thousand eyes; and now, having got a bite at last, with lusty shove, which makes his pole bend and quiver, and the whole boat tremble, he gains a few feet upon the river.

 

To add to the danger, the poles are liable at any time to be caught between the rocks, and wreched out of their hands, leaving them at the mercy of the rapids,—the rocks, as it were, lying in wait, like so many alligators, to catch them in their teeth, and jerk them from your hands, before you have stolen an effectual shove against their palates.

 

The pole is set close to the boat, and the prow is made to overshoot, and just turn the corners of the rocks, in the very teeth of the rapids.

 

( excerpt from the maine woods by henry david thoreau , august 1846)

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Monday April 10 2017


 

 

 

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