The trees and brush have long since dropped their leaves, exposing the surface of the wetland and most of what is there, and what has been left there. It's a time of dormancy, but I always find it a time of hope. The trees are just waiting for the right time to regrow their leaves, they are just adding one more ring to their measure of time.
There are just a few big birds, a couple great blue herons, a few hawks, two swans. Mostly, it is smaller songbirds, and woodpeckers - lots of woodpeckers, primarily the downy, but I also spot one of the larger hairy woodpeckers.
The near lack of breeze creates clear reflections of the silver grey trees on the water and sometimes I just navigate by watching the reflections instead of the actual river's edge. It's all the same except upside down.
I turn at the tavern put-in, where the tavern no longer stands. I have no reason to push farther up the river, and I have good reason to take my time and explore unvisited inlets on the way out.
I turn up a backwater that has a thin sheet of ice, using the bow of my canoe to create a small vee. The view of frozen water and the sound of frozen water cracking will never cease to hold me.