I lived here once. It was nice to have four seasons. To have access to water and vistas such open space provided. But in MN everyone must live on a lake, and around this particular lake houses became stacked up the hillsides by the time I and my family moved away. We want our views, we want to be a part of something connected, but we don't care to care for it. So we write memoirs and poems celeberating the memory--something that can be distilled and purified and philosophically rectified and reasoned through, or at least struggled with in a somewhat productive fashion.
The rock in the canoe was indeed my friend. He rowed when I got tired. We shared many fond times. Or, he was simply ballast, as most friends are. For all I know he was she, and this was my first girlfriend.