Thursday, April 30, 2009

For Sarmila

This morning I started by reading Sarmila's blog. Sarmila is one my followers and she had sent me a comment that I forgot to reply to. Her blog turned out to be beautiful poetry and I got all inspired and went down to the lake early.
I hope she will post more poetry.

I start in the south lagoon. The nesting geese near that spot have goslings, which means that their nest has been there much longer than I thought. It is very peaceful and calm this morning. Rounding the first corner I catch a spicy fragrance from some plant that I do not know. I head across the bay to the north point. I have just built a plane table for making simple maps and I will draw several bearings from there.
Buffleheads are still around and common mergansers in groups of 20ish are in sight. After drawing my bearings, I get too close to shore and start picking up trash - compulsion, but a useful compulsion. I load up 30 gallons (the size of my basket) - FYI - 30 gallons is a half canoe load by my reckoning. Mother Nature rewards me by putting a big flatbacked turtle just ten feet away. It was 18 inches across the back and it dives when I reach for my camera. As I paddle on, two honking canada geese come from behind, just 3 feet off the water and they miss the bow of the canoe by that same amount. That was f'in cool.

Before dumping my plastic garbage, I lay it out for a photo. Tennis balls, bottles, combs, Bic lighters, bottle caps, lids, straws - lots of them, rope, a flip-flop and lots of unrecognizable bits. Again, the haul came from no more than 30 feet of shoreline.

That makes 130 gallons of small plastic and 7 canoe-loads of big stuff. It's the small stuff that really disturbs me. I fear that there is far far more of that then I imagine. What have we done?

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