Friday, September 2, 2016


Before I reach the first point, still with a small cedar swamp to my left and a larger cattail swamp to my right, I count 2 osprey, 2 great blue herons, 1 great egret, and 2 swans.  As I turn the point I find another great blue heron some 300 yards distance standing out from the background forest because it is in a shaft of sunlight.  3/4 of a mile off at the far end of the cove are another dozen or so swans with a pair of cormorants not far away from me. 

In another month there might be 60 swans here if the weather is warm, or 120 if the weather is cold.  I've counted 130 before.  Much of the cove is quite shallow and it suits birds with long necks that can feed off the bottom.  I'll find some geese and ducks at that time, but the swans do a pretty good job of keeping most other food competition away.

The wind is in my face as I advance, out of the north and heading toward the south aimed at the extreme low pressure of a hurricane several hundred miles away.  It is somewhat gusty and somewhat variable, but the direction is almost written in stone, such is the strength of hurricane weather.

Under Big Hill Tom, I turn up the sleepy Moodus entering a calm and closed in world of forest and swamp.  I scan the bottom as I go, the water clear enough and shallow enough to show bits of people's history...pieces of ceramic or glass...things that have tumbled through the years down the river and found rest where the currents flow with little speed.  The histories are hidden, no context to anything found here except that it came from up river.  What it meant to someone is left to imagine.  Anyway, today I find absolutely nothing...a rather notable first.  I turn back at the cobble bar below Johnsonville.  Usually a wade, the bar is well above the water today.

I head out and up the Salmon, spotting four great blue herons as I go.  My next tucking in spot is the little unnamed (to me) creek that comes in from river right.  It is lush with wild rice and hundreds of birds cling to the stalks until I begin to pass.  They fly off to the nearest trees and wait for my eventual disappearance.

I continue on upstream and circle the island that is attached to the bridge on the Leesville Road, as I often do, and then head back out on a tailwind.  Long ago I left the thoughts of my daily world behind and my way out is a time and place where leaves pirouette eight times before landing in the water, where the slapping of a wave in the crevice of a rock brings me near to shore, it is a time and place without the need to identify, it is drink for the eyes and rhythm for the body and food for the soul. 

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