Saturday, December 19, 2009

And Paddling Away

I struggle awake this morning and read enough news to show me that the ruling class is every bit as incompetent and misguided as it was in 1914. So, I take my canoe to the big lake and instead of heading north like I planned, I find myself heading away, paddling away, paddling away to the northeast, out into the big lake where no one is. It is gray and misting on the two mile crossing with a raw north wind. Open water crossings, especially in inclement weather and cold water, play head games with me. The far shore never seems to get closer and the near shore doesn't become more distant, until, in an instance, and never in the middle of the crossing, the shore I am heading for suddenly starts to near and where I came from has become small. I spot 10 western grebes on the way. Returning, I head west, straight across. It is a bit shorter crossing. There is a flock of 60 to 70 western grebes hunkered down near the midpoint. My guess is that the weather out on the salt water has sent them here today. Both eagles are at high points in the east marsh, which provides the only real color on such a gray day. The cattails have begun to take on the color and appearance of a cornfield in late fall, golden tan and shaggy. There is just a little ice left in the south lagoon and it breaks like the safety glass in an automobile when I paddle into it.

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