May 25, 2010

The Ballad of the Kluane Shiplap Spruce Boat

Riveted, shiplap on rib construction.  This is from an OLD boat.

In the days long ago, when the land was full of snow
A healthy old spruce tree was growin'
Reaching up high from the north summer light
Near a cool mountain stream ever-flowin'

A strong sense of place with its roots in embrace
Of the rocks and the sand and the soil
It could not foresee the great axe-swinging spree
Of a boat-builder ready for toil

If fell to the ground with a great thudding sound
Its needles and branches a-snappin'
Then dragged a few miles, cut, and thrown into piles
All the while asking "How could this happen?"

As the spruce lumber dried the great boat-builder cried:
"A fine little craft this will make here
For Kluane Lake has a tonne of fish to take
In the deep Yukon waters, cold and clear."

He measured and cut from the tip to the butt
Then he ran each new board through the planer
He fitted each slat and then riveted each flat
'Till he had him a floating container

So proud of his boat, he then set the thing afloat
And then rowed it across Lake Kluane
It had been too long since his last hooch and song
With his brother-in-law, Skookum Johnny

What he didn't know is the spruce refused to go
Any further from its place of growing
With a pop and a crack the boat split down its back
Then into the craft water was flowing

The boatman, I'm sure, never made it to shore
Kluane Lake water is chilling
The moral, you see, is to never cut a tree
Unless it is ready and willing

Washed high ashore.

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