Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Making the List

It's not 'til I walk home that I realize that I am carrying my canoe paddle.  My canoe is now stored a 1/2 mile from where I sleep, but the paddle is in my hand when I finally leave the canoe.  With a cross-country move ahead of me, many of my friends ask, "Is the canoe going with you?"
It is, but it is just a matter of fact issue - I will take it with me for convenience and not because I am particularly attached to it.  This has all been about canoeing - not the canoe.  But, the paddle is different and the absent minded carrying the paddle home, instead of leaving it with the canoe tells.  The paddle is the pen, the brush, the chisel.  It is the hand.

S comes out with me today.  She has been on my canoe list although she was not sure if she was on that unwritten roster.  We meet at the canoe and with a wind coming up head down to Portage Bay.  It is cloudy and warm enough with a forecast of showers.

We visit the Portage Bay bank burrow.  The water has been kept quite high and the approach through what is often very shallow water is easy.  Then we head through the Crossing Under Place to the more lively Union  Bay.  There is nothing out of the unusual except that S, who is a rower, watches, no, studies each and every rowing shell that passes by.  When we are in the Crossing Under Place she points out that we are the wrong side of the canal by rowing rules.  I point out that we are the right side of the canal by common sense rules (I prefer to paddle head on towards motor yachts rather than trust them to avoid me from behind).

There are a good number of ducklings out.  The first ducks hatched early this year, late in March.  This might be second broods, which ducks will do if they have the time.  There are also some late hatched Canada geese.  Ducks early, geese late, marsh wrens were on schedule.

It begins to sprinkle when we take a break at the Big Lodge.

We sniff beaver scent mounds as we pass the east channel of the Burial Island.  Only one has a faint scent to it.  The recent rains have washed them fairly clean.

It is the Hidden Lodge which is the highlight of the trip for me.  This has been a small beaver lodge under a decking of blackberry vines for 4 years, invisible to many and unnoticed by most.  It has doubled in size since my last trip!  No longer a 4 foot high mound of branches, it stands a full 6 feet tall and fully exposed with the blackberry vines trimmed.

The newly expanded Hidden Lodge - it has outgrown the name

We finish the trip with a stop to talk with 3-Stars.  He adds stories of a mallard nest near his boat, a crow nest that was abandoned nearby, he has now seen a pied billed grebe nest, and we both wow at the huge increase in size of the Hidden Lodge. 

It is raining for real by now.  Me and S walk back up the hill.  S asks if she was on my canoe list, just to be sure that she did not violate some sacred custom.  I respond, "If you wanted to be on the list, you were on the list, but I had you on the list anyway."