I stop first to herd ducks. I spot a mother following two ducklings as I move down the open channel between the dense floors of lily and lotus pads. I catch four more ducklings lagging behind to my right, stumbling through the jumble of giant green leaves, the mother stopping to look back at a them. I pull up and wait, although I finally get impatient with the last two, who are dawdlers for sure. I nose the canoe into the pads behind them and they pick it up some, all swimming off together.
It is a warm, cloudy and windy day with a sense of coming rain. I start in the dead lake and paddle downwind, my paddling more for correcting my heading than for power.
Changing weather seems to cause me to think of changes in general, changes in my life. But here, I'd rather just look at what is now.
The cattails are not yet tipped in yellow.
The late arriving lotus and lily pads have come in just as vigorous as always...just late.
The birch trees seem to be just a bit more yellow than I remember, but there is no proof of this.
The Hidden Lodge (beaver) is truly living up to the name that I have given it.
The water level is low but I can still get into the dead end in the east marsh. In unison, I surprise a muskrat, a green backed heron, and a heard but unseen great blue heron as I enter. With the low water, the mud bottom of the beaver forest is finally exposed.
I sit still in the canoe for quite some time. The canoe does not rest but instead drifts with the wind that penetrates the marsh, first one direction and then back, and then with a little twist. I find my way by going along for the ride. I feel like sleeping.
I lay down, by shoulders on the gunwales, my feet up on the center thwart, my head on the blade of my paddle. I no longer want to sleep, but I do not want to move. I am waiting for the rain.
The rain comes. I can go.