Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Turn in the Weather

We are still many days away from a visit by the north wind, but the air has changed overnight and the day was crisp, bright and dry. A trip to the river today was more than a compelling respite from a busy day, it was as though the air sent the invitation up the hill toward my office. Later, when on the water, the air took me back to visits to lakes and ponds when I was young. Waters in New Hampshire that drew me to their mysteries are still vibrant recollections. Its a combination of smell and feel more than a vision - that's what always takes me back. The mysteries were composed of unseen fish below the surfaces, ripples in the distance from unknown sources, and sounds left unrevealed even with a turn of the head.

The river today was calm, quiet and a warm red in the late afternoon light. Paddling was an easy affair and I found myself readily engaged in trying to capture with camera the stoic solitude of a great blue heron which I found standing on a pile of floatsam on the sunlit river bank. The bird was unusually patient with my presence. Approaching any wildlife while paddling, I am always conscious of the flashing yellow blades of my paddle. The heron was not perturbed and it took several minutes of my nusiance observation and photography before it had had enough. Off it flew the short distance to the other side of the river to take up, once again, its search for small fish in the shallows.

The equinox is less than forty-eight hours away and the paddling will bring many stories. I look forward to the waltz of the fallen leaves in the eddies, the crisp breezes and shorter days of late October, and the promise of a paddle in an early winter snow squall after sunset on a late November evening. Perhaps some new adventure that the river hasn't yet revealed will find me by December. I'll stay alert to the possibilities with every bend in the river.

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