Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fire in the Belly

I was hanging lights for an art event, standing on a ladder tying things with string when I flashed back to my climbing days...the memory of concentrating on setting gear while high and in someplace vertical with air beneath ones feet...and the way that the rest of the world disappears at such moments.  My friend D, also a former climber, says you have to have fire in the belly to do that.  Neither of us climb anymore, but neither of us have ever lost the fire in the belly.  We just burn a different fuel.  People with the fire always have the fire, unless the machine becomes broken through abuse or accident. 

I set out near low tide from the Foote Bridge, and as a result I dodge a few boulders, drift over some shallows, and wade a hundred yards or so as I make my way towards the sea.  I spot three osprey well before the stone arch and my first snowy egret of this year.  It seems that if one just swivels their head around, they are more likely than not to see an osprey.  Once the water becomes deep enough for a full blade, I pull out a new paddle for its first day.  It is western red cedar of similar shape to the one that I have been using all spring, and as it makes its first few sweeps past my face, I catch the smell of the cedar through the linseed oil finish.  It is a good paddle and when I make slices with it in the water it doesn't "zip" at all...the edges got shaped just right.
glossy ibis
Beyond the stone bridge as I get to the first gentle bend I find a dozen glossy ibis on the outside of the turn.  It is a beautiful bird of fascinating proportions that I find here in mid-spring...I'm not sure where they go later, but they usually seem to be around for a few weeks before I don't see them anymore.

Yellow legs have also returned, and as I reach the spartina of the salt marsh, they get exchanged for willets.  I spot a single whimbrel a mile up from the sea.
I turn back when I get to the mouth of the Neck.  The tide is still low, the Sneak will be a portage at this water level, so I retrace my route.  I wade upstream through the shallows, I dodge the boulders, I'm an equal amount of time opposite the low tide point.

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