The little bay formed by the second of the bedrock finger ridges holds six great blue herons and a great egret. I have been passing over and near schools of fish since I started and the waders are working the shallows. Osprey are flying and perching about as well and it appears that all of the fishing birds are doing well this morning.
The broad bay above Goose Island holds cormorants, gulls, egrets and dozens of birds on the far side that I cannot identify. I flush a green heron, which seems unperturbed about being fairly close to me.
I take the channel that surrounds Coute's Hole in a clockwise direction. The "hole" has two entrances and I use the north one to drift in on the wind. Bird eyes will spot me no matter what, but at least I come in quietly. I flush nine great blue herons and a great egret.
I paddle into a dead end by accident and then find my way out continuing north into a finger that I remember to be not too long. At the first bend I spook two snowy egrets, an osprey and a great egret, which go out of sight and in turn flush ten more great egrets, a great blue heron and a mature bald eagle. There are a lot of birds here today. Anyway, my memory is off and this finger goes quite a bit farther than I remembered. It is a 20-25 minute round trip. I find sixty Canada geese at the deepest reaches.
But with all the lists of bird sightings, it is the moments between that I find richest. The above two minutes of writing covers an hour and a half of paddling. I quit counting after that. What I've listed doubles or triples without counting. No, it is the time between that is the richest. It is the long sections of unbroken paddling, the rhythmic gurgling of the eddies left behind by the paddle, and the million cattails that sweep by without disrupting my thoughts...millions of cattails. It is a journey uninterrupted by the fictions of a modern world, a place where everything is real and everything is felt. It is a place where I carry my friends and my family... if only they knew.