A cold kept me indoors for way too long and I get to watch the last of this falls first storm drift off just as I get well enough to go out. Today brings a beautiful morning with the sunlight strong, coming through the clearest of air.
I paddle north up the big lake into a wind of five miles per hour, or so. I use a new paddle, an ottertail design made from Alaskan yellow cedar and painted with a very detailed map of the marsh. The small Clark's grebes are still in the big lake. Buffleheads have not arrived as I would usually find some here in the shallows.
When I get into the south lagoon, I find that gadwalls and widgeons have returned. There are also several northern shovelers, a spectacular duck, and I find a hooded merganser tucked in with a small group of wood ducks.
Having been inside for so long, I bask in the fall sunlight because today, it is not like sitting in the sun. The trees have changed colors and the marsh is no longer a green place. It is a stirring of all of the earth tones, all of the water colors. And with the migrating birds, it is more alive than any other time of the year. It is the very definition of vivid.
While I explore around the edges of the workbench lodge, a green backed heron flies past. I always think, when I see one, how it seems that flight was an afterthought. It is awkward and incorrect in its shape when flying. This one, however, is wonderful in color and it stays near, but always safely behind some brush, and we eye each other for several minutes.
Historic Paddle Photo: 1907 - With Gun and Guide
7 hours ago