Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Playing the game

It's a start into a thick fog on a warm day with calm seas.  A clam boat works its allotment out beyond the visibility.  I can follow it through its steady thrum of the motor and the occasional rattling when a dredge full of oysters and clams is dumped. 

The conditions are near white-out and I stay far enough from shore to keep it a vague, far enough so that I am not noticed and far enough so that what is over there doesn't matter.  I pass gazebo point and then, flag pole rock.  This is an imagination trip, deep and featureless fogs lead the experience with the mind on a long tether.  Land is just a shadow and shadows are land, or not.  The sparkles arrive and float aimlessly - with nothing to focus on, the eyes find something to do.  You just have to play along, and I like the game, to a point, but I am not an easy mark.  I don't follow the bird call to see what it is, because it will just lead me away.  And while I don't need my compass, I know where it is, and in all likelihood I have three of them somewhere amongst my gear.  I've long been in the habit of tying cheap compasses into my various packs and just leaving them there.  Being lost is interesting, but only if you know how to find yourself.

Three brants fly straight at me out of the murk, low and unyielding.  They can't quite make out what I am in this haze until they are on top of me.

Oyster River bay is thicker yet and it is the only place that is disorienting.  It seems so much bigger than it was and I wait for land to appear.  The bridge appears not many degrees off of the bow and I ride the very end of the flood tide.  A workman on the bridge asks if I have seen any stripers (striped bass), and I laugh back, "I didn't see anything out there", which is not true, but I don't have time to explain the sparkles.

The Oyster river is fog free.  I've only been here once before back in the winter and it is, so green.

Least Sandpipers

A cardinal greets me as I enter, I spot a little blue heron, a couple snowy egrets and lots of Canada geese scattered about.  I follow the wide meanders, photograph the fake deer standing rock solid still with its flag held high, spot a muskrat swimming nesting material somewhere, see a huge turtle, and when I get as far as one can paddle, I find a bunch of tiny least sandpipers, and notice that the tide has just begun to turn.  So, I turn.

Playing the game

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