Thursday, November 06, 2014

A Fall Canoe Paddle - Part I

  When we slid it off the dock into the water, it moved forward with such familiar grace, I got the impression it did not want to wait for us to board but wanted to glide away over the glassy surface of the water all on its own.

Our initial plans to carry the canoe on the motor boat to a distant and unexplored side of the bay were thwarted when the motor hiccuped every now and again indicating water (perhaps from ethanol) was in the tank.  We returned with resignation to the dock and unloaded all the gear from the motor boat and then lifted the green fiberglass canoe unto the dock.  A shame to waste a lovely fall day...thus we just decided to paddle up the river like we had done so many times before. 

It has been too long since I have carefully unfolded my stiff body onto the bow seat of a canoe. I threw my camera bag in under the inwale and with one hand on the dock placed a sandle-covered foot into the belly of the canoe carefully keeping my weight as low as I could.  With as much grace as I could muster  at this low tide, I lowered unto the seat with a small thud, keeping the canoe in balance; and as I pushed away from the dock with one hand, I lifted my paddle from beside me with the other.  Hubby and I have canoed so many decades we are a ballet team when it comes to heading out.

The water was glass smooth and the temperature a cool fall 60C.  The trees in the yards of my neighbors along the shorelines were at their peak of color, which was a little grayed in vibrancy as misty clouds veiled the sun for most of the day.





Geese in the dozens had gathered at the mouth of our creek and clearly felt threatened by our small green canoe as it sliced toward their group.  These feathered friends were newly arrived from Canada and other northern spots.  Perhaps they sensed it was geese hunting season in "these here parts."  Hubby judged when they would fly by the distance a shot gun could cover from the canoe.  They first squawked gently as they swam in small circles around each other peaking at us with intensity.  Then, as we got closer and closer, heads came up necks straight and they began their discussion in earnest.  Some swam to the sand spit and caucused  for a plan.  (Wobbly birds photos taken from a wobbly canoe...so a bit out of focus.)





"They are coming this way!"

"No, they are going to turn at the sand spit."

"Fools, they are headed straight for us!"

"Not moving here."

"Let's go...now!"

" Help!  Help!  They are at my flank!"

And then at once and with tremendous cacophony, the squawking gets very loud and very much in some rhythmic unison.  Soon we see the small splashes of the surface of the water as their feet beat hard and the geese lift free from gravity and head away across the watery runway into full flight.  They are up in a flurry of wing beating and feathers flying and in a short time far above our heads and on their way to a safer side of the river calling to the others to "Keep up!  Keep up!"  Even the seagulls, that would normally ignore us, take flight.





Very suddenly it is a quiet autumn morning once again and the paddle silently cuts the water's mirrored surface and misses a scattering of duck down and feathers floating so lightly on the surface along with multicolored leaves.



Soon and with little effort we are at the mouth of the creek heading into the bigger river.  There is an oyster boat harvesting what few bivalves remain at the bed near the bridge and we can almost hear his dredge as it splashes back into the river.  There are a few motor boats on the far side of the river leaving tiny white wakes as they head out to the bigger bay.  They sound like distant annoying bees.  We turn the canoe to the right just past the slowly eroding sand spit and head up river to find a familiar gunk hole to explore.  

Tomorrow...fossils...

14 comments:

Brian Miller said...

ha. nice fun with the birds....smiles...been too long since I unfolded in a canoe as well....love the glide...just don't fall in this time of year...ha...

Rain Trueax said...

We are thinking of getting a different canoe. I like canoeing for the same reason you do but when we take ours into any current, it gets dicey and we tipped it once. Fortunately my camera was in a waterproof camera case and other than getting soaking wet, there were no serious consequences. There are canoes that are less tippy and by next summer, I hope we have one. Lovely photos

ellen abbott said...

I have a canoe but haven't taken it out in years. I need to do that again. after all, I spent 10 years or more guiding wilderness river trips. I can remember, usually on the third day after breaking camp of 25 - 35 people and being tired because it is a lot of work, wondering why I keep doing this and then the boats are all loaded and we push off from shore and the current catches the canoe and...I remember.

Celia said...

Thanks for the lovely break. Hope to be out on the water soon myself.

Hilary said...

Oh just beautiful. I was practically rocking in my chair as if in that canoe with you. Love the geese in flight. And your colours are still so beautiful. Ours are long done.

Mage said...

No one is immune. Indeed. So beautiful.

messymimi said...

It's so nice to have such an enjoyable pastime be so familiar you can almost do it without thinking, and yet it probably feels new in some way each time.

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

thanks for letting me travel with you. no way could I be in a canoe by myself :)

Red said...

I never tire of watching geese as you did. They do a tremendous amount of chatter. Then suddenly they're off.

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant images Tabor, I love Canada Geese.

Granny Annie said...

I so envy your ability to get out on the water and enjoy the scenery as well as the active geese this time of year. I watch them fly over in droves and hear their musical honking. It embraces this wonderful time of year. And my three boats sit quietly in the stalls.

sandra hagan said...

a dance of nature! amazing and fun!

Kat said...

Ha! I'm surprised they didn't fly over you and drop a little present on ya. ;)

Beautiful pictures. The last one of the feather really gets me. Gorgeous!

Pauline Woodcock said...

I just want to exhale a long "Ahhhhh". The last time I tried to unfold into a kayak, I unfolded into the water with no grace whatsoever. I know of no-one else who could take me for a paddle like you do.