Friday, March 27, 2009

Hunting Day

From the canoe -
I'm preparing for a slide lecture on my artwork that I will give next month. My prep for these things, being that they are never the same and I don't like to prepare exactly,(I can't read the rest of the sentence, ha). I've been thinking a lot about my path as an artist. That path has no known destination, nor does it have clear direction. It has dead ends that branch off, it has distractions, and it has chance encounters with people that think that you are on the same path as they are, but you are not, or maybe you are but only for a moment. At times the path disappears and some amount of searching or sitting and thinking about where you are has to occur before finding your way again. One thing is for sure, when I am centered on the path I can feel it.

It is gray and drizzling at times today. The temperature is about 40F. It is not a pleasant day, but in the words of Elwood P. Dowd, "it is a fine day, they always are." Which brings to mind two movies that you should see when you are out of sorts. 'Harvey', with Jimmy Stewart, and 'Pollyanna', with Haley Mills and Karl Malden. Don't underestimate Pollyanna just because it is a g-rated Disney movie.

I paddle out to the dirtberg, which is slowly sinking. It is in the same spot as before. I dig a chunk of the surface out (see photo) to see what it is made of, which is (surprise) swamp muck. Lots of rotting vegetation in a matrix of dense muddy poop. I guess that it is dense enough to trap swamp gas underneath, which is what I think causes these floating islands. On the north shore, I spot a few very beautiful green winged teal. I also find a mating pair of ring-necked ducks. Moving east, ducks out on the lake begin to scatter and I see a Bald Eagle skimming the surface aiming for a flock of coots. The eagle has come from nearly a half mile to go after that particular flock. The flock refuses to take wing, skittering across the water as one instead. The eagle circles, hovers and circles. It's white tail is toward me and spread wide in a fan. After a couple of minutes, it finally drops and catches the coot, immediately setting off east towards the NE lagoon instead of the lunch counter. Drifting with the wind into the lagoon, I can see the eagle has the coot draped over a branch, holding it in place with it's left foot and eating it at a fast pace. Leaving the lagoon, a Canada goose takes a defensive posture towards me. 20 feet further I spot its mate sitting firm on a brand new nest, the first that I've seen this spring. I head into the wind to cross the bay and return via the east channel of the burial island.
I also saw a kingfisher, two northern flickers, a sharp shinned hawk and more common mergansers than usual.

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