For no good reason I alter my portage route down to the south lagoon. Half way there, I hear from behind, "something something canoe," and I know that I am being hailed. There is a woman, who has just run out of her house and would like to take my photo. Then we talk about my project briefly until the cold finally drives her back into the house.
It is cold and clear with the sky a true tone blue and a low winter sun vividly lighting the world that I can see. It is the inside of an unshaken snow globe with everything clear, crisp and in sharp focus. The thought, "too pretty to be natural" comes up, but I shove it back down to where it came from, a place in the past where we were taught that man and nature were separate.
A trail running up the tiny "rockpile"island draws me over, but the tracks are indistinct. From here, dark and dense flocks of ducks and coots stretch out northeasterly with the constancy of widgeon wheezing drifting across the water top.
Rounding the north point I find a hawk in tree. And, as I move along the north marsh, I hear the call of a river otter. I stop and I find four or five, three of which are adolescent pups (I don't see more than four at any one time).
I head into the NE lagoon to continue my survey. It is slow work, mapping another island which needs to be accurate as I will be sighting some long distances off of it. I also take time to remove some of yesterdays plastic survey tape, once that I am sure that I won't need to sight off of those points anymore.
When satisfied with the plotting of the lagoon entrance and the north railroad island, I head out finding two trumpeter swans on the dirtberg. They show up most often when the weather is particularly cold. I try not to bother them and continue out into the big lake and downwind to the Harrison portage.