Wednesday, February 1, 2012

child of nature

I return to my canoe via the Harrison Portage.  Too long, much too long has passed since my last trip.  it has been almost 4 years since I could not remember my last day in the canoe.  But, the short term unfamiliarity gives me thought - while I have always enjoyed the outdoors, I have never been so much a child of nature as I am now.

There are golden eyes and buffleheads in the big lake and just a quarter mile north of the put in, a harbor seal and I share a second's worth of surprise.  It is tennis ball calm today -  I can see them from a few hundred yards.  It is also cloudy but sun comes through at times and in places.  The water is cold, but the air warm enough that my fingers return to comfort, once they are in the air.

Crows are making a racket when I near the swimming beach.  I move in closer to find a small hawk with a pigeon.  A couple with a small child also nears and asks me what it is.  I reply, "lunch."  But, I get out and have a nice chat.  The man has just returned from fishing in Alaska.  Like most people one meets in Alaska, he knows that everyone everywhere is a bit crazy in some way...just get over it and have a talk.

At the big lodge, red wing blackbirds are trilling and an eagle sits in silhouette over the south nest some 400 yards off.  I stop in the small patch of marsh that I call the sedge meadow.  I stand in my canoe and admire the spot.

Geese seem to be pairing up already.  They are getting noisy, but haven't reached full rambunctiousness, yet.  So, I head out into midbay to look the new dirtbergs over.  It still amazes me how the lake bottom rises up in the winter from gases trapped in the peat.  While I'm doing that, I spot a motor skiff heading in my direction.  I have to admit that I am always a bit suspicious of motorboats, but  someone hollers my name and I know it is 3-Stars with a friend.  The four of us (3-Stars has a blue-healer dog) sit and drift in mid bay for a half hour discussing the birds and animals that we see. 

It was an important day.

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