Hairy chests vs. hairy backs

On a bookshelf nearby rests sewn and cut pages that display ink patterns claiming to be the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe was a newspaper man

Rarely do I find myself rewriting the start of a blog entry.  I usually spent a few minutes earlier in the day planting an idea over which I mull my thoughts and my daily experiences, blending them into words of wisdom upon which I will mull the following day, so forth and so on into oblivion or history, whichever comes first and lasts.

But I have dwelled in the ravenous words of Poe many times before.

‘Tis not a dwelling one desires to live long periods of time.

Instead, I pick up an oar, or our hour of rowing begins, pushing off from some misty, distant shore in the dim light of dawn, the black-and-white of night warming into purples, pinks and oranges as the sun shows its furnace face, ablaze like no love adorning the parlours of two smitten teens entwined in eternity’s dance of forlorn-no-more promises.

Tick-tock.  Tick-tock.

For whom do these words flow from tapping fingers attached to sets of states of energy coordinated such that a universe reinvents itself at imperceptible fractal levels testing the grand universal theory of everything?

I know not.

Yet, I know.

Further and farther I row.

Rows upon rows of farm fields rumble past, a’thither, whither, whether, hence.

No matter.

The rhythm of repeated words flutters in the wind, chasing swallows so swift in pursuit of insects suspended in suspenseful air.

Thick as flies.

Dense as milk.

Tense with high tension wires vibrating vigorously, immobile yet alive with electricity.

Words that tell, not show, show, not tell.  Some or both, neither, very well.

Small dams pool water in shallow lakes, pushing potential energy back toward boats and lonely rowers.

Oars dig deep, the holes in water kinetically kicking back, equal but opposite reactions on rowers’ limbs, skin erupting rows of glistening sweat beads, sheeting, laminar flows across foreheads, necks, arms, chests and backs.

Skiffs in competition toward the dam lock.

First in, first out.  FIFO.

Fee fi fo fum, I smell the musk of a sweaty man.

Paddles of wood slapping the water, the long handles banging against iron rings, grunts in the air sending out snorts of foggy breath.

Boats jumping, waves spreading, oarmen chasing oarmen, dreams of winning nothing more than pride and a job well done.

A quarter, then a half and finally a full boat-length ahead.

Closer to the lock, closer to victory, closer to bragging rights.

Tip follows tail, boat ends touching between oar strokes.

Closer, then farther apart.

Almost there.

A few more arm thrusts.

A last great flurry of boats scurrying into the lock like water bugs in a fight for a minnow.

Only one exits victorious.

Two fists pounding a bare hairy chest as winner.  Palms pounding bare hairy backs in congratulations all ’round.

Only one winner but all celebrate.

The first boat through the lock carrying the corpses of the Black Plague to the sea means less bodies to bury in the village, and a couple of days’ rest for the rower.

The remaining oarmen pay their respects, bearing their loads behind, beside and in front of the winner who slows in a show of pride, his arm muscles hot and seizing up, his legs cramping, his head on fire, his lungs heaving.

He may have won but his work is not done.  He will save his two days’ rest for a girl back home.

He takes a deep breath, picks up his oars and rows to the front again.

First through the lock and first to the sea!

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