Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Should'ves

I woke up with the "should'ves" ...the human condition that all of us semi-responsible people suffer from.

I should've been working on my new artwork, I should've been roughing out my idea for a canoe guide, I should've been hauling yard waste to goes on.

But, what I really should've been doing is taking my canoe to see if the catalpa tree blossoms are floating delicate blue and white in the Farmington River.  I should've been thinking about how amazing this planet is.  I should've been thinking about how lucky I was to have a father who took me into the outdoors (going "into" the outdoors is an odd phrase), how he said nothing when I took up mountain climbing (I survived) and didn't question my quitting an engineering career to make a dollar and hour as an artist. 

And, so that's what I did.

I put in at the Gifford Pinchot sycamore tree and headed upriver against the usual mild current.  There was little if any breeze and I stayed in the cool of the morning shade.  The catalpa tree blossoms were not in the water and when I went to check I found that the blossoms had not even opened, which is a bit late if memory serves me.  It always strikes me that this river has few landmarks.  The few bridges that cross it are an hour or more apart and the trees in the forest that borders it are uniform in size.  I remember the gravel bar with slightly faster water, when I get to it.  I am on a plain ribbon of water that winds through the forest. But, there seems to be some comfort in knowing that I will not know where I am until I get there.  It is not so much different than my life.

I spot Great Blue Herons at regular intervals.  Sometimes, they stalk off into the shadows as if they are invisible.  Sometimes, they fly ahead, three or four short flights as I approach until they circle back to where I first saw them.  I see a couple hawks and a couple Kingfishers and a few ducks.  But, the best sighting are the lamprey that I spot in the gravel bars as I pass over, ancient and strange looking eel-like fish.  All of the ones that I spot are in concave depressions that they've built in the bars to lay their eggs.
I paddle nearly 4 hours upstream without seeing anyone.  I'm pretty sure that I'm nearing the aqueduct ruins but I spot a couple yellow kayaks coming around the bend about a quarter mile up.  I take the cue and turn back keeping the river to myself.

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