Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where the Garden Gnomes are

Portage Bay - before I can even get seated at my kneeling thwart, a young bald eagle sweeps by pursued by a blackbird. The eagle is just newly mature with brown feathers still mixed in with the white tail that is the signature of maturity. The wind bumps me up against the beaver lodge and I watch until the eagle decides to soar high over the 'Crossing Over Place'.
There are clouds today and it is windy. I believe it will rain later. The blue that shows between the clouds is a single color that we see when the weather blows the ocean moisture away. It is a blue that hurts ones eyes to look at too much, like a pure musical note that bears on the ear when held too long. If one makes a landscape painting with the sky done in this color, it might be judged to be a poor painting because no one ever remembers the sky being this pure color. Today, the clouds save me from madness, but at the cost of a couple downpours.


I find three pairs of northern shovelers near the west lodge. I usually only see one pair in any one place, so they may be preparing for migration. They do not seem to nest here.

With the very high water, I head up Ravenna Creek and find that I can go all of the way to "Where the Water Reappears", the name I have for the end of the culvert where this creek resurfaces after passing under a shopping center. It is lots of twisting, ducking and nudging to pass through low branches and fallen trees, but it is not especially difficult. It begins to rain hard and on the way out, two cinnamon teal are flushed and the male is truly the color of cinnamon. Another pair of northern shovelers wait at the mouth of the creek.
Garden Gnomes
It is straight across the bay to the north end of the east marsh. This area will be totally destroyed by a new bridge with an obsolete and unimaginative design, a bridge that will not only be obsolete twenty years from now, but will be obsolete on the day it is finished. So, I drag my canoe over the 30 feet of floating bog to one of the beaver canals that is just inches wider than my boat. Then, I pole and nudge the canoe into the center where I just sit and soak it all in for awhile. There are dozens of rounded tree stumps, little sculptures left by the beaver and they remind me of garden gnomes. I want to remember this place. No one else ever comes in here, they look at the little channels and can't imagine that they go anywhere, but they do, they go here and I sense something special in this place. It is mine, for now.

1 comment:

Kathleen Faulkner said...

Yes, I know that blue... and I'd love to know those gnomes. Great post, Scott.