Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It is Jean's Birthday

It's Jean's birthday and I must tell her what I see, because she is a thousand miles away.

I portage east to the big lake on a sunny and calm day, passing a man with a child on his shoulders who says with a laugh, "It's a long way to the water," and I can reply, "no it's not," with a laugh, and as our shoulders drift pass each other in opposite directions, we are amused.
The dry and brittle totally exhausted cattails still stand and their puffs remain, our spring and late winter dryer than normal and less stormy than most. The farmers east of the mountains are already beginning to count their water, and the mountain reservoirs wait for less than normal snowpack to melt.

I bump against the edge of the east marsh. The first new cattails are coming up, still less than a hand-span high. And a redwing blackbird trills and chips as I sit.

I head through the east channel of the burial island and into the south lagoon where I find four herons, although two of them are only seen after they take to wing. The fourth sits and lets me pass under with no obvious concern.

As I move north up the east side of the west islands, the scent of fresh water comes to me. The water is still too cold for that, so the sun must be heating the surface just enough to lift it airborne.

At #1 island, an otter swims parallel to me for a hundred yards. It is just a few inches from the cattails and I am 30 yards out. It only notices me when it turns in my direction. It's serpentine dive is the last I see of it.

I circle #1 and return towards the east end of the ancient portage, but first, I pass through the break in broken island, grabbing the last of the car tires as I go.