Saturday, March 5, 2016

Acquiring Topography

I had no patience for driving any distance and so I loped across town to set in at the marsh at the mouth of the big river.  I arrive to find it as devoid of elevation as possible, the tide high enough that the spartina is all awash.  The marsh at this time is almost all water.
new paddle for a new year
I head upstream into a one hour old ebb current and a cool headwind.  Still below freezing, the wind makes my eyes water for a few minutes until they adjust.  It puts a sting on the tops of my ears and an ache to my cheekbones...the feel of winter remaining as hints of spring arrive.  I've already noticed a few of the mated geese moving off from their flocks.  The other day, a swan took a slightly defensive posture towards me...but only slightly, its nesting hormones not fully charged.  Soon, it will be the most aggressive critter in the marsh.

Canada geese
My first destination is Beaver Creek, a drainage that runs through town and enters the big river at the head of a sizable marshy bay.  With the spartina awash, the geese are easy to spot with their necks and heads taller than the stubble.  Even so, what seems to be seventy five geese turns out to more like 400 geese and ducks as I flush the nearest and they, in turn, flush those that are on the far side of the bay.  I find a few teal, a pair of hooded mergansers and a kingfisher near where the creek disappears into a culvert.
big metal obelisk

When I return to the main marsh, after only thirty minutes, it has acquired new topographic character.  Thirty minutes translates into about a foot of water, a foot of water from an enormous area that has gone someplace else.  The marsh is still mostly water, but the ratio between land and water is rapidly changing.  I take advantage of the temporary passages and weave my way seaward.

When I take out, after a two hour trip, the marsh is almost all land.

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