Saturday, June 09, 2012

Virtually Gliding Along


Do you want to take a canoe ride today?  Your not dressed?  No paddle?  NO excuses!  Put that toddler down for her afternoon nap, set aside the last of the laundry, turn down the burner on the lunch soup, set aside that pile of bills, or turn off the TV.   Now get something cool and refreshing to drink and put your feet up and let me do the paddling for you as I share a canoe trip down the creek north of where I live.  Come on, take a big sigh so that I know you are unwound enough to enjoy this.

This creek is a tidal tributary and was established as a preserve by the Nature Conservancy in 1978.   This tidal basin is near historic Mallows Bay which I wrote about in an earlier post on my other blog

Today is a perfect early summer day for such an adventure.  The morning golden sun is up and shining but a silk shawl of cool air swirls around and around keeping the temperature exactly as needed.  The wind does not push or pull the canoe but races along with us brushing at wisps of our hair and gently caressing our faces.  The sun warms our shoulders.  You can see that those who live back in the woods beyond the edge of the creek are now all hard at work.  Their toys lie idle along the shoreline.  Be thankful you can spend some time with me.




Many birds sing lyrical songs from deep in the emerald shade of the woods.  Once or twice my eye catches a gnat catcher, but they are gray green with hints of yellow gray, and it is hard to be sure I am right when they dress in such advantageous camouflage.  A significant population of red dragonflies sails along with us darting across our bow and showing off.  Smaller blue dragonflies are seen near the shallows and seem to be deeply involved with each other dipping tail's end into the surface of the water as they coast with their mates.


We see an abundance of both osprey and eagles and this means that later this year there will be an abundance of calling and dangerous threatening air battles as they compete for territory and space for their young.  There seem to be more bald eagles, which might mean fewer ospreys next year.  At least for now everyone is eating and/or sitting.






Just ahead the water surface ripples as the air kisses the river.  But then suddenly the surface grows crazy as we are hit by a zephyr that has caught the edge of the trees and is doing a devilish self-twirl.  Its sudden and unexpected power almost tears our caps from our heads and makes it difficult to keep the bow on course. But this only lasts a minute and soon races on its way laughing at our surprise.
There are feathered "fisherbirds" of all shapes and sizes around every corner.  Some are successful and others are being patient.  Even so my camera is having trouble getting a clear shot as we glide past large great blue herons.





Beneath the water's surface we can see gar the size of a sumo wrestler's arm rolling in the shallows and minnows smaller than reeds darting for safety.  We frighten the rare turtle and see several mud slides between the roots of grasses which are most likely evidence of beavers or otters or muskrats at play when we are not here.

These days are rare and worth more than anything money can buy.  Can you smell that honeysuckle vine growing just beyond those trees?  Can you hear the gentle lap of water against the canoe hull?  Do you feel the wisp of air across your brow?  Can you see how perfect this day is with clouds floating like new lambs across a blue quilt?



We have gone quite some distance, but it is just too lovely to head back just yet, and I want to take a photo of that wild rose that grows just beyond the grasses.  Besides I am ready for lunch and I know just the place.


Oh, look over your head! We have startled another bald eagle from his survey perch.


Lets glide down that little finger of the estuary before we head back out.  I bet there is a cool shady place to tie up and have lunch.  




Once in the shade as the water narrows the sun plays on the surface and reflects back from the muddy water.  There is a mirage of an underwater canyon of buttes and pinnacles in the brown liquid as the sun glitters against the soup.  Just ahead I see some movement.  Maybe we can share with this farmer's ducks!  Ooops!  Guess they are a little shy.  We will tie up here on this little point.  Look at how the reflection of the water dances against the trunks of those trees just across the way!   What a light show.




As we pack up. it looks as though the weather is changing late in the afternoon.  I think I see a storm is brewing toward the west so we must turn around and head back to the dock. We make it to our car and are just a few miles from home when the sky breaks into big gray tears seeming sorry to see us leave.  Maybe another trip again soon?



23 comments:

Granny Annie said...

That was a lovely adventure and calmed my soul. Like the sky, I felt tears as the journey came to an end. Your description brought the canoe trip to life.

Brian Miller said...

ah lots of beauty out there on the water...would love to take a canoe ride like that...the battles for territory later this year might be something to see as well...

Joanne said...

Thanks for paddling. The birds are impressive and the roses delightful.

Red said...

You had my undivided attention.
This seems like a very rich area for birds plants, insects...
I did a similar tour last summer on the Vermillion river. It's much rougher than your creek. I wouldn't have wanted to paddle up .

Joanna Jenkins said...

Wow! That is a gorgeous place. Thanks for the tour.
And seeing eagles in person is such an amazing sight. I've only seen a few and I'm always in awe when I go. Thanks for the regal reminder.
Happy weekend, jj

Dave King said...

I would love to join you on the water. Canoeing is something I do miss. Posts like this go a long way, though, towards some compensation. Thanks for the beauty and tranquility of them - and this one especially.

Jenny Woolf said...

This really did pull me in. Your vividly descriptive writing made me feel I actually was there with you. I wish I could be there in real life now!! leave the hassles and grey sky behind....

Pauline said...

What an absolutely splendid post! Big happy contented sigh. Can we go again soon please? I'll paddle if your arms get tired.

Chris said...

Thanks for the lovely trip!

Hilary said...

Did you hear me sighing throughout this post. I did. I really did. Just beautiful.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Oh my
your words soothed my soul.
Your images
made me feel as though I was right
there with you.
Thank you...

Mage said...

Look at those marsh grasses, ah the sky dotted with clouds. I'm your devoted slave after this delightful post. Thank you.

Sharon Wagner said...

I love that I am skipping a stone right now. Maybe I'll finally get better at it. Beautiful birds!

Robert Sobczak said...

Good reminder: I need a canoe ride about now.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Tabor, look at my blog and tell me what you think this bird is. I told
my children that I bet you know what it is :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh My Gosh.... I wanna go!!!!! I'll put down my toddler (HA HA) and be there soon.. What a gorgeous area and ride...

Love the one with the reflection in the water... Gorgeous!!!!

We use Liquid Fence to get rid of the deer ---and Sevin to get rid of the Japanese Beetles... Hate doing that--but it has to be done if you want pretty roses!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Ooohhh, such pretty photos. I especially love the water reflection one. Lots of beauty on this post. :)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'll go on a trip with you anytime.

Dave said...

Thanks for the enjoyable outing Tabor. Your descriptive writing is wonderful - Dave

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful pictures, thanks.

lime said...

gorgeous shots of the birds especially. thanks for taking us along. :)

Rachel Cotterill said...

Beautiful - I'd love to paddle along with you :)

Barb said...

What a relaxing paddle - and so many birds and sights to see! Lunch was yummy - thanks. I'll treat next time.