Sunday, August 12, 2018

Afternoon on the Water

It was the perfect summer day for a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands!  The Village of Gananoque was fairly buzzing when we arrived shortly after noon today after wending our way on the idyllic back roads of United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. There are no doubt alternative ways to take a jaunt on the River - but the boat tour is unquestionably the most convenient and least expensive (about $45 for the two of us for an hour tour).  Years ago the demographic for boat tours was likely old fogeys like us; but now the audience is young and predominantly Asian or Latin.  Indeed the taped recordings on the boat were in English, French, Spanish and Chinese.  The verbal exchanges between the members of the crowd were decidedly international. But apart from that difference, the nature of the people was civilized and courteous.

As soon as we boarded the tour boat I headed directly for the upper deck where I secured one of the last available perches on the benches.  I crossed my legs, clasped my hands over one another, shut my eyes and drifted pleasantly in the sultry sunshine.  When the boat got under way there was a sublime breeze.

Say what you will about tours - boats or buses - they invariably provide an historical detail which is memorable.  The Thousand Islands have attracted many a great mind over the past hundred years or so, not the least of whom is Charles Dickens.

It is a reminder that rubbing shoulders with one's species is neither novel nor uncomfortable. As well I relish the event because it is illustrative of the value of public opportunity.  Joseph Hayden for example notoriously spent almost every Sunday in Hyde Park, details of which he scrupulously recorded in his diary.  What amused him about the people he saw parading about him was at times peculiar - but quite understandable to any of us who have been similarly enchanted by a crowd. My riparian experience today was one which predictably fulfilled all the usual passions - shimmering water, dazzling sunshine, balmy breeze and the predictable nautical sensations characteristic of water craft, waves and distant maritime scenes.

What lingers even after the tour is over is the remnants of fresh air and burning sunshine.  The venture on the water stimulates all one's resources.  There is no doubt in my mind that the experience is primeval.

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