Tuesday, October 4, 2011


A while back, my friend, L, who was visiting from our home state, asked me while we were out walking, " Do you ever think about what a beautiful place this is?"
I may have taken 10 seconds to answer, which is a very long silence if you think about it.  When I looked her in the face, I probably had on my dumb question expression, but not because it was a dumb question, more that I was caught off guard.  In fact, the simple question deserved thought and the ten second pause was one of gears turning in my head.
I answered, "Yes, I do."

As I walk the Harrison Portage, I wonder if all those people hurrying by in their cars on some schedule that may or may not be their own ever think about how beautiful this place is.

C, T and MP come riding up the switchbacks as I sit pause to write in my notebook.  It has been a long time and they stop for a good talk.  T even comes up with some good ideas for an art project of mine, his creativity probably unrecognized by most and untapped by himself, for that matter.  The portage pays for itself, yet again.  I thank him for clearing that creative tangle for me as they head off.

The big lake has that oddball chop going, a clunky chaotic wave that I can reconcile mathematically, but not in a natural common sense manner.  It has something to do with the unnatural in the lake, I suppose.  The chop labors the paddling, each stroke requiring a different amount of correction to maintain course.

Calm returns at Potlatch Point, as it usually does.  With the onset of fall, the lake is low and I glide towards the Big Lodge over the sandy bottom that lies just 2 or 3 feet down.

I catch linseed oil scent
my paddle, hand carved
my paddle, well used
oiled after its last trip
the scent now in my hands
I will carry the trip with me 
long into the evening

Signs -
I spot the some fresh peeled tree limbs in the water.  The beaver are switching foods with the season from green plants to inner bark of trees.
I see the first widgeons of the fall, a pair in the south lagoon.
I flush a green-backed heron from the base of the workbench lodge.  It might be the last green-backed heron that I see until next spring.
I find a lot of beaver scat on the east tip of Marsh Island.  It looks like rotting balls of chipboard.  There is more here than I have ever seen in one spot.
I find the leftovers of a crayfish claw nearby.  A sign of raccoons or otter.

I stop and talk with 3-Stars, mostly to check on his well being, but also to see if he has observed anything that I have not.  Then I continue on to the bottom of Portage Bay.

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