To Make A Canoe


To Make a Canoe

To make a canoe you need a corrugated iron sheet. You can nick one from a building site.

You probably shouldn’t.

Also an Outspan orange crate.

Blue fencing wire off the farmer’s fence. Some nails.

You lie the sheet over a ditch and jump on it until it has the right shape. You flatten the ends of the plate with a rock. Nail the nose seam of the boat shut onto a piece of wood.

That’s good.

Tar pitch: that we scrape off the roads on hot days, when it’s soft. It smells sharp. This you need to seal the holes. You can melt it more in a tin on a fire.

If you’re lucky, the canoe will float. With two of us in it, it might sink.

It is heavy.

You have to spread gravel in front of it to slide it on down to the river bank. Or, wait for it to rain, so it can slide on the red mud and into the bulrushes. We never waited, but sometimes it rained just in time. Woosh.

I once crossed the entire breadth of the Silverton River in full flood in a canoe we built.

The best thing is when you paddle yourself into the umbrella of the weeping willow, lie on your back in your own-made canoe, and stare up through the canopy, where the finch nests swing.




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