Sunday, November 21, 2021

Elwood P. Dowd

 Calm air, autumn sun, and a perfectly timed tide put me into my favorite small river, again.

I pass two kayakers as I head into the Neck River.  The first says, "Glorious day," his way of saying something when he doesn't know what to say.  His buddy tells me in a perfect New Jersey accent to watch out for the alligator.  I'm not worried as the alligator only eats peoples senses of humor.  As much as I put down the "glorious day" comment, it dominates my thoughts for the next half hour.

From the Neck, I head up Bailey Creek and into the Sneak, my usual route when the tide permits.  It is a glorious day and I think back to try to remember a day when I was outdoors that wasn't glorious.  This is an Elwood P. Dowd (look him up) moment... "nice day"... "they always are."  I can't think of day outdoors that wasn't at some point, glorious.  Freezing cold, rain, wind, or a night at 12,000 ft under a boulder in a snowstorm without a sleeping bag...scary, but glorious and unforgettable.  I finally figure out that this is just a ordinary day.

The light is perfect today, low and filtered.  Good photos are easy, but watercolors are what is needed to get the full effect.  The spartina is gold, the water near smooth, and half of the trees still hold onto rust colored leaves.  I flush a dozen Black Ducks as I get up through the Sneak and spot another thirty flying farther off - well out of scare distance. 

I keep going when I get to the little bridge at Bear House Hill Road.  The next half mile only works at high tide and often requires some brush bashing or limbo dancing.  A Hawk trades stares with me for awhile.  I turn at the next bridge knowing that it is just wading above that.

I see a guy paddling a small motorboat with an oar.  He beaches it at the little bridge and inspects his propeller.  He is about 400 yards higher up than he should be and I imagine that he hit one of the large boulders that dance just below the surface.  Eventually, he catches up with me.  His boat sounds like a distant B-17 bomber, a deep thrumming, which might be due to a bent prop.

I get surprised by a Great Blue Heron as I return down Bailey Creek.  The feeding must be good as I am well within a Heron's scare distance before I see it. 

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