Saturday, August 28, 2010

Discovery Day on the Thirty Mile River

Took a solo river trip this past long weekend. Across Lake Laberge and into the not so empty bush beyond. Had a good book to read, simple food and some crossword puzzles for the time it takes to make coffee in the morning. Weather was hot, but river was cool.

I stop in a familiar cove on the lake and climb the steep cliff behind the beach. The trees have grown. I am disappointed to not see my boat from the heights. From the rocky point down the beach I regain my composure.

My chair looks out over the river. I watch the reflection of river ripples on the curved sides of the boat, the mystery of their meeting at the prow blocked by a pine. I do not move my chair, today I prefer the philosophical wondering to the very slight satisfaction arising from observed fact.

I visit my favorite island in US Bend. I force myself to relax and read my newspaper 10 metres from a large and beautiful wasp nest. The prospect of being chased by angry wasps keeps me gentle and quiet. I read several articles and decide to leave while my luck holds.

The time is halfway between summer solstice and autumnal equinox, the shortening of daylight is beginning to accelerate. It is hot and sunny but I know the waterfowl before me are beginning their migration, the fireweed here are spent, the berries ripening and the number of yellow leaves in the forest are more numerous every morning.

The lanky spruce spiking the sky in the camp are stark against the morning sky. There is no wind, the buzz of a fly, the occassional chatter of a squirrel as it throws spruce cones down from the trees and the low quacking of ducks in the back water accompany the slow, almost imperceptable, oscillation of the tree tops. Perhaps it it is the rotation of the earth at work, a timeless natural opposite of Foucault`s pendulum.

A little hiking in the woods in the late afternoon and later I float out to the river garden in the back eddy beyond my camp. With the sun low in the sky I look down through the almost invisible water. Floating in the air above the plants is quite remarkable and I'm fascinated with plants breaching mediums and water bugs skittering around on the surface doing interesting things.

The return up the lake is fraught with a rising wind and stormy waves. It is though the lake is telling me to stay, to wait upon the forests and the river, to escape the town and wait for winter.

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