Friday, October 21, 2011

The First Buffleheads

I put in at the south lagoon hoping for the arrival of the buffleheads.  As I finish the ritual of getting ready, a guy paddles up in a shiny red canoe.  He rams it onto the gravel beach, gets out and drags it free of the water.  The brief exchange of "hi" and "hey" is all of the conversation.  While we are traveling in the same craft, we are of two different minds.  I lift my canoe by the gunwale, for even though my canoe has long since ceased to be a thing of beauty with the scratches of 500 trips on the outside, splotches of mud inside, and pink and tan foam glued down where my knees are when I am paddling in that posture, I lift my canoe and set it in a half foot of water, and then finish loading my ever heavier field pack.  I set one foot in the center of the canoe, grab the gunwales with my hands and push off with the other leg gliding scooter-like out into the marsh.  I drop to my knees and go away.  My well-worn canoe has taken me to countless discoveries and adventures...his canoe is just a boat...he treats his canoe like I treat my car.

It is a sprinkling grey day.  Some cattails have gone yellow and some remain green.  The lotus pads are brown and torn at the edges and only the centers of the leaves try to stay on the surface.  There is a cool and growing south wind.  It is an archetypical fall day in the marsh.  It matches all of my memories.
willow gnawed by beaver - in case you were wondering
 I leave the east marsh and head cross bay to the north point.  It is hard to see ducks at any distance due to the chop in the water, but every once in awhile, I read motion out there.  At mid-bay, I spot a dozen buffleheads, the first ones of the fall.  And, I drift with that, and I then catch the nasal wheezing of widgeons, who have finally arrived in force - I spotted a lone widgeon some 2 weeks ago in the south lagoon.

1 comment:

AdkMike said...

That sounds like some of my old cars...the red VW Squareback, for instance...wish I still had that one! Anyway, everytime you put up a photo like this (Beaver nibblings) I have to change my background. Thanks! ;^)