Saturday, April 27, 2013

What You Do With the Good Ones

I set out at low tide, at the very turn of the tide, the boulder groins exposed as much as they ever are, black with the saturation of seawater and green with a thin layer of plant life.  An osprey hovers to the south and three cormorants sun themselves on low rocks to the north.  I paddle up the coast with a mild cool offshore breeze on one side and the heating of brilliant morning sun on the other.

Since my last trip, which was too long ago, due to my rebuilding of my studio and some fairly windy spring days, the bird life has changed.  The brants are gone, as are the long-tailed ducks, and the red breasted mergansers that fished here so often are nowhere to be seen.  Life is always richest at the edges - whether one is referring to nature or one's own life. The edge that is winter is fading away and the comparative mediocrity that is summer approaches.  In the first bay, I spot a black and white floating at a distance too far for even my camera.  I turn toward it and, after paddling about fifty yards, it dives.  I wait.  And I wait.  I wait a very long time, scanning to my left and right.  It comes up well to my left, a common loon - with an underwater swim that approaches 200 yards.  I find a few great egrets in the rocks at Merwin Point, and several cormorants, arriving for summer, have set up on the islets.  And then, my thoughts drift elsewhere.

A friend died this week.  N was an elder in the wisest sense, her husband a teacher, and her children were and still are my friends.  I spent quite some time at their house during my teens and early twenties.  It was a place where youth could explore the intellectual edges.  The sometimes good and sometimes idiotic ideas of teenagers were heard and, if they deserved to be shot down, they were shot down and not shouted down.  I can, at any moment, conjure the sound of N's voice, "oh scott..."  a slight exasperation followed by an thoughtful challenge.  I grew while I was there, but grew far more later on, because I had been there.  My rebellious streak found direction.  The nature that my father introduced me to, and the creativity that mother showed me, were deepened by knowing N and her husband, G.  I came away knowing that there were doors, cracks and crevices in what I already knew and that in each of those openings was something that could be and should be explored.  I will never miss her, because she will always be right here.  That is what you do with the good ones, you just take them along.

Common Loon

I have spotted 6 loons.  Two of them trilled.  Four of them were paired.  I find myself having trouble seeing the paper, it is best to put the pencil down for a time.

Oyster Catcher

1 comment:

MyrtleMeander said...

The good ones do stay with you. Lovely piece of writing, Scott.