Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Returning to Where I am

Winter is approaching and soon enough  the Great Swamp will freeze over.  Each day that comes is one last chance to return and see how the new and impressively active beaver colonies are preparing for winter.

fresh cutting
I put in at the top and find the water maybe a foot down from my last trip, which occurred after a large storm.  Rain seems to drive water level here and I imagine that the swamp catches everything from the surrounding hills as long as it is wet enough for the ground water to percolate.  The swamp is a high point with rivers heading both north and south....no rivers drain into the swamp.
Anyway, the water is still high enough for easy paddling.

The water begins to pool, reaching into the riverside brush, when I am between Pine Island and the Cult facility on the hillside. 
New lodge - owners of the lowest dam
It is a beautiful day with sun casting long shadows in the gray sticks.  The wind is variable and more than likely comes as strong gusts with near total calm in between.  I flush a pair of wood ducks once in awhile.

the lowest dam
Every so often the outside world starts to intrude on my trip.  I inhale deeply, as if to inhale the entire surrounding, as if to inhale all of the sounds and silence and dried cattails and gray sticks, as if to inhale the Great Swamp.  And when I do so I find that I have returned to where I am.

I turn back when I get to the lowest dam, which is also one of the newest.  The dams have not changed much since a month ago, but the new lodges have been winterized.  Each was near five feet tall and packed recently with mud to seal the structure from the coming winter.  Both of those new lodges also had a good mass of cut saplings and branches in the water near the lodge - food for the freeze over.

No comments: