Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pay Attention

"...so, you're not going to be there tomorrow..."

Three gusy with kayaks are setting out just as I start loading the canoe.  The experienced one in the group chats some.  "Just going up river." when I ask which way they are heading.  They paddle straight away up the East River.  But for me, it's a high tide and I go into the Neck to take the Sneak back into the East River a mile up.  I paddle steady hoping to get ahead of them via the longer route so that I can canoe up undisturbed waters...more birds, more wildlife.
Willets are around as usual, flying and calling warning patterns as I or birds of threat near.  The Osprey push the heads of their chicks down into the nests when I pass.  Likewise, Canada Geese goslings sink down into the spartina when they spot me.  I'm just a short moments interruption and probably the only person that will be this way today, or tomorrow or the next.

I exit the Sneak - the leader of the kayaks is on his cell phone, "so, you're not going to be there tomorrow..."and so forth.  I don't think he even noticed me.  I pass his friends and put distance on them rather quickly.  I spot a Glossy Ibis at the first of the Big Bends.  It is out in the middle of the spartina in an old panne, its long curved needle bill stabbing at the soil as if driven by a treadle Singer.  It minds me not the least.
As I pass under the Arch Bridge I spot straight ahead a beautiful red-brown whitetail doe.  The sun makes its fur almost shimmer.  It is one of the prettiest deer that I've seen.  We watch each other for a minute and then it moves casually back into the safety of taller brush.  I begin to write in my journal and as I drift around the bend I hear slurping in the cattails.  An equally beautiful velvet antlered buck moves away from me and deeper into the cattails.  In a second its motion is noted only by the splashing and sucking of mud as walks off.
I turn at the Foote Bridge and pass the kayaks again when I get down to the Arch Bridge.  They are turning around as well, which is unfortunate because in another hundred yards the river will change from salt marsh to fresh water marsh.  They should go farther.  

The tide is falling and I ride a good current out, making it to the Sneak while it is still passable.  All of the important things I had to say go unsaid.  It was an especially beautiful day.

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