Dear Rubber Ducky,
Who knew that the day we met would be the day we parted? I was floating down the river, evading fallen trees in my dashing Tilley hat. You were lost among the river trash of Lumsden, waiting for someone who would take you from that place. You, with your yellow plumage and rubber skin.
Things proceeded quickly. You showed me the tattoo on your bottom, "CM 2008". I took a photo of my new mascot, happy to show the world.
You did not want me to see Lumsden. You said the library is closed on Thursdays, there would be nowhere to leave a boat to bike to Regina. I still wanted to look around and was shocked by your insistence.
I climbed up that steep bank and after looking for some time, did find the library, and was amused by its sign "The Library". Along the way I had seen ads for a drugstore. These ads were ducklike characters, but I thought nothing of it.
I then hiked along the tops of the steep river banks looking for a place to park a canoe. It was odd, having trails along that channelized section of river, as if to form a kind of amphitheatre. I noticed a painting of a duck on the road, labeled "21st, September 1, 2008". I still did not unerstand.
But when I went to get groceries, there was a rack of shirts. Most of these shirts bore embroidery or printing that said "Lumsden 20th annual duck derby, 2007." And that is when I understood. You knew if I went into town I'd find out that in exactly a month, there would be hundreds, thousands of rubber ducks floating down the river. And maybe then you wouldn't be special. Maybe you wouldn't be the one.
I took three trips to carry the groceries back down to the canoe, and then got out my pliers to remove the leaches from my feet. Neither of us said anything. You were afraid I'd dump you there, but I was merely saddened by your lack of confidence and candor.
The river became high and slow. Approaching a fork, with no current to guide me, and not enough detail on my map, I was lost. But you helped, you really did, you said "Follow the arrows, they'll show you where to go." I looked and I saw bright orange arrows posted on either side of the right channel. Having no other clues, what could I do but follow?
We continued on until another fork, again with one channel marked with arrows. I did not want to follow this time. My map clearly showed that the left one went to Last Mountain Lake, whereas the right went to the dam, and beyond that, back to the flowing river. You were insistent, "Just follow, don't say no!"
But I was going to portage the dam. The banks were steep, so I had to take everything out of my canoe, and there was a lot of stuff. I don't remember how many loads I had taken when I returned to find my canoe missing. You were trying to run off with my boat! I saw you making your way out on the orange barriers before the dam. Fortunately I had my life vest, and doggy paddled out to the boat, recovering it.
I had too much stuff and could not bear the thought of more portages like this one. I had to get rid of anything unnecessary, superfluous.
I'm sorry, Rubber Ducky. You made bath time lots of fun, but I'm awfuly through with you.
Doop doop dee doo,
Day 40 ended: 50*42.402N, 104*47.987W