I head to a new place, a new river for me to explore, but I find the wind rising and know that I will face a stiff paddle on the return, and recognize that this river will have nowhere for me to get out and walk back. So, I go someplace that I know.
I head up the river, two green herons, two adult swans, two cygnets, a great blue heron, a great egret, a few osprey, two kingfishers. Noah's ark for the literalists, without brontasauruses and tyranasaurus rex.
When I get to the widening, I paddle with ease through the boulder bay, the six to ten foot diameter boulders that dot the marsh mostly covered and the mud bottom plenty deep for my paddle. Those oversized boulders, seemingly out of place in a big marsh make this place unique. I find the creek that I suspected to exist on my earlier low tide trip coming into the bay at the far end, just around the corner where it had been out of view.
The creek is beautiful and well forested. I suppose that it is seldom visited. It doesn't go anywhere in particular, but it is entirely worth paddling, just a few hundred yards to a small bridge where, on the other side, the creek forks and both arms are canoeable for just another hundred yards. And since it is entirely worth paddling, it takes me someplace, someplace important. I'll bring someone here sometime, and they will probably go someplace different.
As I head back downstream, I catch the two adult swans overseeing the flight lessons of the two cygnets. The grey cygnets paddle around and flap their wings remaining firmly rooted in the water. The wings look well developed, but aren't yet strong enough for that wooshing wing tip splashing take off that swans do.
I continue down to the big river and sit on a rocky island for a while, waiting for the tide to drop and expose the shoal, which will draw the shore birds in to feed on stranded critters. When I get back in the canoe and round the corner, there are ten or so snowy egrets working the silt.