Thursday, July 12, 2018

Time Distortions

I set out just short of the high tide and return to a meandering natural cut that I had followed into Ox meadow on a recent trip.  This time, I am up high above the spartina, the passage wider with the extra water.  I flush some Willets that are hanging with three Oyster Catchers. 
Some of the Willets are gathering in small flocks of 6 to 12 birds.  This is new behavior for the season, Willets are usually seen in one's or two's..  It's possible that these are young Willets...they seem a bit smaller than usual.  It goes well out into the middle of the "meadow", perhaps 300 yards south of Cedar Island.  Although it has thinned to half a canoe length, I find a wide spot at the end that lets me spin the canoe and paddle out facing forwards.
I head back down the East river and then up the Neck, up Bailey (where I pass the bird researchers) and into the Long Cut.  I miss a critical turn in the Long Cut and it occurs to me that I've never used it in this direction.  Osprey chicks are getting bigger and braver.  Their heads are up watching me as I pass, if an adult is at the nest.  Otherwise they lay low and out of sight.

Between my observations, I think about my mom.  She died about a month ago.  I suppose the death certificate says pneumonia, but it should say depression brought on by care taking her last husband (most definitely not my father), a late stage king baby alcoholic.  Genetically, her death at 80 was about 15 or 20 years premature.  She had always been active and athletic.  I think she held every Red Cross swimming certification and had been a member of the Aqua Follies synchronized swimming troupe.  Yet, I could never get her to go out in the canoe with wasn't even a "I'll think about it."   And then four Osprey are circling high overhead and calling out in their slightly hoarse whistles.  She would've liked that.  I look up and realize that I am in one of the most beautiful sections of river anywhere in this state.  I paddle on.
I think about returning.  It seems that I have been paddling for a week, but a check of my watch shows nothing on the clock that is unusual.  Something inside tells me to go up to the Foote Bridge, my usual high point, so I do.  At the last turn I spot a Green Heron flying past.  It is the first Green Heron sighting of the summer (they always show up here late in the summer).  The bridge is pleasantly shaded by the hardwood forest.  I turn and return.  By the time I get to the stone arch bridge the strong ebb current is combing with a tailwing to speed me back to where I came from.

Ox Meadow

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