Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Mile

I met four people on my portage to the south lagoon. The first, a nice guy walking his dog talks with me for a good fifteen minutes. The second, I come across on the trail and he keeps his eyes down, says nothing, and his body language says that I should do the same. The third compliments me on my canoe, but we don't talk, so I don't know if he knows what he is talking about. The fourth nods as I nod and we pass. That gets me to the lagoon.

It is a windy day, but with a south wind the marsh is fairly calm.

There is 3 or 4 extra inches of water here. The heavy rains of this week fill the massive lake system faster than the dam in Ballard can release it. But, this little extra water means that I can go into some of the little passages and beaver canals that run through the marsh.

I stop in the portion of the east marsh that is attached to the burial island. I've never seen anyone else in here, and when there is enough water, I will bring friends in. It is a push and wiggle to get the canoe through the cattail barrier. I even push with one foot scooter style. I want to document this place, but feel totally inadequate for the job. This little cattail island is a secret garden...most people only see the cattail wall that forms the outside.

They might notice the beaver lodge, which is the lowliest hovel in the neighborhood, really not a pretty beaver lodge. Once inside, in the center, one finds that the cattails have given way to a beautiful patch of sedges, which are lower than the cattails and for some reason make me think of the place as a peaceful spot. There are a few struggling trees, subsisting on soil that can't quite be called earth.

The beaver come in here and gnaw them down, so that there are dozens of foot high rounded stumps all lined up on the root system as if they were someone's garden gnome collection. Soon, the state will build a poorly designed and expensive bridge through here, a short term solution for a society in deep denial. It will make it temporarily convenient for someone to live forty miles from where they work. No one can argue with thinking like that...

When it is time to go, I work my way out and skirt the edges of the islands so closely that I bump the submerged logs several times.

After about two and half hours, when I take out at the east end of the crossing over place, I have traveled less than one mile, on the map.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Winder Noyes said...

A mile that is a universe. Can't help thinking of William Blake's "world in a grain of sand".

I wonder if your documenting will eventually help us to 'protect' the territory, eh?.