The sunset draped a glean on the sapphire lake and turned it amber – and we were about to run our canoe head-on to the shoreline.
My focus was so fixed for a moment on the horizon, the bold line of landmass – the Finnish town of Kuhmo, distantly – separating the two patches of golden-dyed blue, that I didn’t realised Kate had switched her paddle from right to left; as the current carrying us grew stronger with the evening gust, and both our oars beating on the same side, the two-person vessel was drifting astray and bound for land crash.
Just as our instructor taught me, I wedged my paddle into the water and levered it like a rudder, bringing the canoe’s momentum down – but at least the nose was pointing back out to the middle of the channel. Then, swapping left to right, a couple of strong strokes.
And we’re back on course. Some teamwork.
We’d been zigzagging the whole way, anyway. Our paces were unparallel: with my vigorous plunging in the rear, compared to her shallower, frequenter and, more wisely, less exhausting paddling at the front. But it didn’t matter; our dynamic was harmonious like the tranquility around us, our relaxed heads equally at peace – and we even managed to burst out waterfaring-related songs, whenever one’s melody and lyrics came into mind.
And as promptly, we’d agree to stop for photo breaks. During one, fishing out my camera from the dry bag, I captured the waning hues enveloping Kate’s resting pose and our grandiose surroundings.