Friday, April 29, 2011

The Finest of Days

On my way to the south lagoon, I stop to talk with a man, J, who lives not far from me. At first, by his opening question, he does not comprehend that I am portaging "all the way to the lake" - as it is so often phrased. We have a very nice chat. I think, as I continue, how likely it is that this will happen again before I get to the water.

Three blocks further, just below the steepest part, T stops me. He has seen me before, so he already has in mind what is going on. We too have a very nice talk about the things that I see on my journeys. But, we talk long enough for me to tell him how important the portages are. How, without the portage, I would not meet so many people and get a chance to tell them about the wonderful things that happen in the marsh.

I was here not long ago, the winding dead end in the cattails, in the place I call the east marsh, because it is east of something. The sky is bigger today than it was then, last years cattails continuing their descent to the water as this years cattails rise up. They are knee high, if I could stand where they are, but if I tried to do that, they would be chest high. A mated pair of mallards weedled through as I reached this point. There is the ever present trilling of redwing blackbirds, two chickadees pull fuzz from the head of an old cattail - nesting material, no doubt. I saw an eagle by the south nest on the way in, but the sky in this place will never be open enough to see it. A crow calls, a marsh wren does likewise, and a dozen more noises are there that I have no name for.

I exit the cattails to find the floating island all rearranged yet again. The calved off south section has now drifted all of the way to the west, sealing off that channel, which I know has been open for over 20 years. Now, the eastern channel that closed last May is open to its original width of some 70 ft.

I head over to the Big Lodge to check the goose nest. I sit for quite awhile and the goose rewards me by standing up and rolling her eggs. She then sits back down and repacks the edges with plants that she can reach with her long neck. The eggs well protected once again from the drafts of this unusually cold spring.

the middle of the east marsh beaver forest

Then, I find myself lucky. The water level is such that I can enter the east marsh beaver forest. Two inches higher or two inches lower and the way is blocked. Only twice before have I been able to go the hundred yards into the tangled wood to the point where passage is blocked, no matter what. I have yet to take anyone in here, but only because the canoe will not make it with the extra person on board. With all the time I have spent in this area, this is still the most special and the most beautiful. There is no creature that could do better with this place than have the beaver.


Kathleen Faulkner said...

This is a wonderful post, Scott. Thank you for the journey.

Elizabeth Winder Noyes said...

What a trip to take after today! Thanks Scott. Water looking good tonight from where I am.