Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Edge of the Straight Line World

The three hunters are ending their day just as I put in, loading their camouflaged boat onto the trailer, the driver, the grouchy demanding one of the bunch, probably fixing his mood to the lack of birds in the boat instead of the fine morning in the marsh that they just experienced, has removed his waders so that he can grumble at the poor guy who is trying to get the boat positioned on the trailer.  We pass without words.

yes, it does really look like this

I think that I like this river because of its proximity to man (yes, I also like it because the fall colors are absolutely unbelievable).  It's a complex relationship of the straight line world and nature that gives me so many things to ponder.  Once past the obvious, the bridges and industrial fringes, the intrusions are still obvious if one is paying attention to the details.  There are a couple of things that don't exist in nature - the straight line and the perfect circle, things that not only exist, but make up the bulk of the man made world.  Although, come to think of it, the perfect circle does exist in nature.  Maybe that is why the eye of a bird can be so fascinating.  Perhaps we see ourselves in that perfect circle.

Near my previous high point, I come across the old stone walls once more.  I checked some maps after the last trip and it turns out that there was a small neighborhood in this area during the 1950's.  I don't know when it started or when it ended, but it shows up in a 1955 topographic map and it had to flood on an almost annual basis... a great place to live if you didn't try to live there.  People do the damnedest things around water. 

I reach and pass the high point on the river that I had gotten to two days ago.  I had hoped that better timing on a very high tide would make a continued upriver trip easier, but it seems that I have gone past where that high water will reach.  The river becomes a tangle of downed trees and branches.  I have to step out to get over a low log once, and farther on a short portage and crawl under a downed tree is necessary.  The final half mile takes a half hour and it is not going to improve.  This part of the river needs another foot of water.

Southern Connecticut Inuksuk

The return is easier.  The high tide line is not far behind me and except for the short portage, most of the woody debris is submerged.  Near the point where the river leaves the forest, I meet J.  I had almost snuck past him on the river two days ago (it's a game I play...I'm curious to see how alert people are and how quietly I can move... and I see no reason to disturb someone unless I have a good reason).  We have a good long chat in the middle of the river and exchange contact information so that we might canoe together sometime.

Belted Kingfisher

Just before the put-in, I spot a guy in a blue rec kayak, paddling with fury, smoking a cigarette, tackle box strapped to the bow, headphones planted in the ears, no life vest.  I nod, but get no response.  I talk with a hunter setting out hoping for geese.  While I'm loading my canoe, the blue kayak guy arrives and rudely drags his kayak across the coarse gravel lot, to the car next to mine.  He starts the engine and lets it idle, idle, idle...  He says fact, he avoids eye contact.  Unlike J, this one is not of the brethren - he knows not the secret handshake.  I turn and go.

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