Sunday, November 13, 2011


I paddle up the big lake in a following wind and foot high waves.  It is a grey day, but beautiful in its fallness.  The moisture haze that dims the far shoreline still shows the golds and yellows and reds of autumn foliage.

I pass...well, no one actually "passes" a flock of buffleheads.  Rather, they get up and circle forward when I'm 50 yards away.  They do this once or twice until they finally get up and circle back behind. But, yes, that happens.

male bufflehead
At Potlatch point I spot a male common merganser, the first I've seen this fall.  And, I wonder if the remaining mate from the south eagle nest is still around.  I have not seen that bird for quite some time.  I see two scaups among the buffleheads, coots and gadwalls, and a wary pied billed grebe nearby.  I head straight to the big beaver lodge, and as I get near, the whistle of an eagle comes.  I quickly spot it in the tall alder that overlooks that lodge.

I have a new project that puts me in the forest and shortens the number of days that I spend in my canoe.  I am still a visitor with that forest project, although it is gradually taking on a homey feeling as I continue to work it.  But this, here, kneeling before the world with a well worn paddle in my hands - a religious symbol for myself if there ever was one...this is where I am.

Postscript -
I stop for a long talk with 3-Stars who helps me identify a small gull that I saw in the big lake (Bonaparte's gull).  On the portage home, I run into P. a climate scientist grad student that I met while making a collaborative piece about climate change.  I see several of the "regulars" as I walk and I go a block out of my way to talk to the old man with the crutch and tiny lap dog.  We always have a fun chat and I haven't seen him in some time.  I tell him how the eagles pick out which coot to attack when they are hunting - It's the one talking on the cell phone.

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