Friday, March 27, 2015

First Osprey

At the first point, the one that coincides with the bottom of Goose Island, I enter that map that is painted on the blade of my paddle.  If I am lucky, I will eventually enter that map that is on the back of that blade, the spirit world map, a map of uncertainty, a map of hidden people and things that one doesn't and doesn't need to understand.

The ice is all but gone, the last vestiges of it are in the marshes and with the loss of ice some amount of wildness leaves.  But as the ice goes, the wildlife returns. 

swan decoy
Common mergansers are flocking in the open waters and blackbirds are chipping and trilling from the cattails.  I brush off a whistling call, taking it for a cardinal messed up with tricks of the wind and tree branches.  Fifty paddle strokes later, the call is repeated and it is much too loud and bold to be a red songbird.  The sound takes my eyes up into the trees and I find my first osprey of the year pinning a good sized fish to the tree branch with its talons.

The first osprey
The first side channel is open, but only until I reach the shallow bend where it doubles back on itself.  There, the channel is frozen over, the ice rotten and slumping, but solid enough none the least.  I return to the main channel in time to catch a mink in its serpentine bounding on the far bank.  I wait a few moments as mink, after hiding, will always come out to see what they are hiding from.  But, this mink has either seen enough of me or is watching from its hiding spot as I  don't see it anymore.

I next enter the circular channel the surrounds Coutes Hole, a round marsh anomaly that sane people attribute to a deep hole and others to space aliens.  It is neither, being quite shallow and, from my point of view, without good reason for not being filled with cattails.  But, it exists on modern maps as well as hundred year old ones.  Anyway, that circular channel is blocked by a jumble of iceflows although open water can be seen not too far up.  I try going counter clockwise but again I run into ice at one of the bends.

It seems that today is a day where I go where I can rather than where I want. I find such things to be reassuring and satisfying.

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