As we slide the canoe into the Betsie River, I tie a bandana around my hair and pick up a paddle. The water looks high but before I comment, my husband says, “Water is low; I wonder if they’ve lowered the dam.”
“Water is low?” I wonder, glad I didn’t remark otherwise. Staring down at the muscular stems of water lilies, I remember Mary Oliver’s poem—how she says the blossoms look perfect but when she gets up close, each has a defect.
I am trying to recall the final stanza, how the imperfections add up to a larger perfection, when Dick says, “Stop paddling please; I want to look at that bird in the pine.”
I hadn’t noticed any bird. “I think it’s a young eagle,” he says. “Can you see it?”
An hour later, we anchor the canoe to a log and eat our lunch of apples, bread, and cheese. While I’m watching a muskrat swim across the river, Dick grabs the binoculars.
I peer into the sky, wondering what he sees—grateful for this other pair of eyes that open my own.
And I wish I could always appreciate our differences as much as I do right now.
“Rough-legged hawk,” he says.