I turn the point and hear distant slapping on the water, not an unfamiliar sound, the sound of a swan taking off. I look left towards the sound and instantly spot a swam heading directly towards me. Only three days back this swan did little more than eyeball me as I paddled past. But this, this is an act of aggression. It sets down about 50 yards out and continues to close on me, neck laid on its back, head tucked, powerful kicks with its huge feet sending pushing a few inches of water in front of its breast. This is an act of territorial aggression. At 30 ft out it turns to swim parallel to me, herding me out of its space.
Weather changes the behavior of animals. Two days ago we had a windy thunder snowstorm drop about a foot of snow. I've set out at the peak of a trap tide again, but the debris in the reeds is no longer visible. Temporarily nature has wiped the slate clean. Soon, I flush a bird of prey. It flies straight away and I can't ID it, but when I get to its takeoff point I find a kill, now just clumps of feathers floating in the water.
I head upriver against a near nonexistent current making good progress following the east shoreline. I head to one island past the fourth bridge...I can never remember the names of most of these islands and it may be time to give them my names of my own making, names that make sense for the place.
I pause, I write, I return to the Feral Cat Park.