Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Rain, Summer Wind

There is almost no wind at the house, but at the water, just 200 yards away, I find a fresh southwest wind.  It comes unobstructed across 15 miles of water bringing with it moderate waves.  North and northwest winds come over land and in the same amount of wind I will find calm near the shore.  East and southeast winds pile up and stagnate against the shore causing waves, but lessening the wind.  Today, I get the wind and the waves and as I claw my way down the shoreline, my plan and the necessary timing for the Indian River looks unlikely.

Two good rolling three foot waves bid me farewell as I round Pond Point and enter a calmer bay at Calf Pen Creek.  With my plans in flux, I take the detour into the wetland, passing under the low bridge and into a broad wetland with an egret or two and some geese here and there.  The predominate animal life are thousands of the tiny crabs with the single oversized claw.  Apparently, they have good sight and drop back into the finger sized holes in the mud banks when I am 20 or 30 feet away, but not before telling me what builds those finger sized holes that I have seen so often.

Calf Pen Creek

I hoped to take time to write my thoughts having earlier been too busy with the waves and wind.  But, the first biting insects of the summer greet me and I decide to keep moving.  Rounding a bend, the sight of a dying bird strips those thoughts from where I can reach them.  The bird is unrecognizable...could be a duck a gosling, or even a young heron.  It sits in a couple inches of water, the feathers no longer repelling water and filled with silt - it is grey.  Every so often it lifts its head for a few moments before collapsing again.  I thought about putting it down, a humane gesture, but I don't, taking instead the view that something more complicated than what I understand is occurring.  Nature will take its course.  In time, the thousands of tiny big clawed crabs will feast.

It is not time to return, yet.  I push on, the waves and wind either lessening or being reduced by the geography.  I paddle against an ebbing tide to get into Gulf Pond.  High tide was not much more than an hour ago, so the current is not too difficult.  I might even make it into the Indian River.  It begins to rain for real when I am half way up the first half of the pond.  Then, the sky opens up, doubling its effort, as I get to the bridge at the half way point.  But, the rain is pleasant...the temperature near 70 degrees and its only real bother is that it is far too wet to use my camera.  I find the Indian River draining, but manage to buck the current and pass the railroad bridge.  I figure ten minutes more and I would not have been able to pass.

Gulf Pond

As I make the first meander, I spot a yellow-crowned night heron near where I saw one on my last trip.  Then, I spot another and soon, two more.  They are out in the grass away from the waters edge.  When they see me, they duck low and wait for me to move off.  I stop to bail the takes about a mile for an inch of water to collect at my knees (I kneel most of the time in the canoe).  Just short of the next bridge the first lightning flash goes off.

I return to the top of the pond where I take out, looking forward to the walk home from there.

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