Sunday, July 17, 2016

Near Big Hill Tom

You turn the point and the cove opens up with Mt. Tom at the head of it, which in my own geography would be called Big Hill Tom at best or just Tom Hill because mountains demand rather than deserve respect and they should rise up above the trees with an abode of rock and snow or ice and any hill completely decked in trees, such as Mt. Tom, are undeserving of the title.  Perhaps the original settlers were very very tiny.
Big Hill Tom

I turn up the Moodus at the head of the cove and move slowly scanning the bottom for specimens.  The Moodus once hosted more than a dozen mills and associated mill towns and discarded items, or more accurately, pieces of discarded items, are common.  They have no scientific significance other than to point out that rivers move stuff downstream; most any found thing could've traveled many miles through the years.

The Moodus
The river closes in, the trees come close and I notice a variety of scents.  In this calm air, in this enclosed space, the scents of live and dead stay in place for awhile.  I spot some grapes, still green and unripe.  They will put out a fine scent when they have turned purple.  Now, they are fragrantly silent.  I collect a small piece of ceramic plate or bowl right away.  Farther on, a 40+ year old can tab.  I collect a large mussel shell as well.  Each was collected by reaching shoulder deep from the canoe.  I also have two green heron sightings, four great blue herons sightings and a single kingfisher, a good tally for 2/3 of a mile.  I turn back at the shallows near Johnsonville, the lowest of the milltowns...population zero.  I spot two red tail hawks high up on Big Hill Tom.

Just below the Leesville bridge I spot a half dozen brightly colored kayaks heading my way.  I spot them in time to take the hidden back channel that they probably do not know exists.  It is a good trade, an exchange of six chattering kayakers for a mother merganser tending to ten young.  I advance on them at a slow enough rate that they can swim away without being scattered.  The family is intact when I return to the main river.

young mergansers
I stop below the Leesville Dam, my foot on a barely submerged rock to hold my position while I eat a snack.  I ponder the uselessness of the Leesville Dam, which seems to no longer serve any purpose.
Leesville Dam

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