The morning is an overcast of marine gray clouds, the effect of living so near the ocean. I do the Harrison portage still sleepy enough to leave my best paddle at home, but conditioned enough to routine that my extra paddle is in the bottom of the canoe.
My spare paddle is a good paddle by store-bought standards, but as my skills at paddle carving steadily improve, it is no where near what I can make in my hands. The T-grip works well in whitewater and at afternoon tea parties, but it lacks all of the grace that lives in a hand smoothed pear shaped grip, a form that rests in the palm as if it was an extension of the hand. I am a person that is attuned to the marriage of man and simple tools, which is why I make canoe paddles instead of canoes. The direct connection between myself and the environment is in the paddle. I build them with a great amount of thought.
I pause briefly at the Big Lodge for no reason other than it seems a shame not to stop and admire this beaver built island. Two kingfishers get up and leave as I near, but not so much for me as much as it is feeding time. While I sit, a cluck-cluck to my left and I see the dinosaurish flight of a green backed heron. It settles in the beaver forest, which with the water down a foot, I can no longer enter. But, that lower water level also means that the marsh if fixed for the season. Which takes me to my second stop, the open water in the SE corner of the east marsh. This open patch is marks the origin of the cattail berg that I have tracked since May in 2010. One could still measure the size of that berg by tracing the open water, if one wanted to. Last year, it settled in the NE corner, blocking off a long open channel that was 70 feet across. This April, it moved again, opening the NE channel, before lodging itself in the NW corner, blocking the other entrance. A good piece of it calved off (I actually watched that happen) and that finally settled a mile north in the mouth of Ravenna Creek. The original route into the dead end in the east marsh has also closed enough so that a canoe will not pass. That too will remain so for the season.
Just over the bow of the canoe, I spot a bumblebee pollinating an invasive plant.
The marsh is awake, but not hurried.
"Weymontachie" Atikamekw Paddles
1 day ago