I have been out of the water for ten days and a damp yet sunny morning leads me down to the big lake. Ten days in fall, so much I will have missed, the steady colorful decay of the marsh and the trees that edge it, the arrival of the rest of the migratory birds.
Two buffleheads are to my left and another is directly ahead. In the distance, 200 yards, are the white necks of grebes. I've just started.
A person who had just seen one of my canoe videos asked me if I meditated.
The lake on a calm day, when I can just repeat the paddling motion, is the clearinghouse of thoughts that can't be spent.
I pass a solitary scaup, a duck which I seldom see in the big lake.
The song of a friend runs quietly in the back of my mind, the soundtrack, and an appropriate soundtrack for the day. I know it will repeat endlessly seeming new on each repeat.
And finally, I round the point into the bay and find the first flock of buffleheads, the males so handsome in their birch bark colors. The winter flocks, if not complete, are now nearly so.
My marsh has turned gold in the last ten days.