Monday, February 24, 2020


Yesterday, I delivered one of my sculptures to a gallery for an upcoming show.  It's a piece that depicts a forest spirit - a collection of found objects; bones, broken glass and pottery, antlers, driftwood  and a mass of horse hair on a toddler manikin that I pulled up from a sandbar.  So, today's train of thought was already prepared.
I put in from Ely's Ferry as a sightseeing boat from Essex passed by.  A former commercial fishing boat, the motors thrummed as it passed by a 8 or 10 knots.  As I paddled I watched it head away upriver, the skipper guiding it closer to land than most of the pleasure craft drivers would dare.  The skipper knew the river.  I'm sure it was an Eagle watch tour.  When I got near the historic Ely houses, which sit at the mouth of Hamburg cove on one of the best pieces of land on the river, I spotted a mature Bald Eagle perched in an evergreen behind the house.

Entrance to the Elfin Forest
I headed up into the Selden Channel but rather than passing all the way through, as I normally would have done, I turned into a side channel which I named the Elfin Forest.  A few meanders between forested hillsides takes me to an open marsh of grassy hummocks and stunted twisted trees.  It is an intimate place.  I've never seen anyone else in here.  I suppose most people that come this way have decided that this channel doesn't go anywhere, which means to me that it might actually go everywhere.  I've been here on warm days when the cool air slides down the hills of the surrounding forests and flows over my body like water.  I've peered into the shadows of those trees wondering what hides in them.  Today, I just sit and take it all in.
On my return I turn up into Hamburg cove.  There is a little bay of seclusion not far into the cove and today I find the upper end of it still iced over.  The bow of the canoe pushes easily into the front edge.  The ice is a full half inch thick, but totally rotten. I examine a piece, noticing the deep pits that have formed in the surface.  It is in the process of disappearing.  But, today it sings.  The little bay has a sound, a rustling of tissue paper.  It is the rotten ice flexing and yielding.  When I push on the surface with my paddle, the sound is an almost metallic creak.  If this was cold firm ice it might almost hold one's weight but today it has no more strength than styrofoam.

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