Monday, September 21, 2009
A Blue-sky Day on a Transformed River
The scarlet leaves of a Highbush Blueberry, set off by a blue, blue sky
What a spectacular blue-sky day! Warm, no wind, a sky so clear you could see all the way to heaven. I'd meant to spend the day on the couch, trying to sleep off this cold that came back with a vengeance, but man, I could not stop myself, I had to get out on that river! A nice quiet paddle, sun on my face, fresh air in my lungs, no effort at all to move across glassy water -- how could that not be healing?
So off to Potter Road I drove, carrying my boat through the woods to put in near Bear's Bathtub. Here's the view that met my eyes: just the sight of that peaceful river was as restful as a good nap.
Even out on the open river the water lay still as glass, unruffled by any boaters of any kind.
But someone had pulled the plug since I was here two day ago. The water level has dropped to where it always used to be this time of year, but hasn't been in at least four years. This photo shows an area I once called Stony Brook Marsh, but which has looked more like a lake for years. Today it resumed its old stony brookish appearance, but without the accompanying rushes and wildflowers that used to line the stream. Today there was only mud -- stinky mud that sucked the shoes right off my feet when I tried to walk on it. But give it a week, I bet the grasses and flowers will spring back to life.
I saw hundreds of snails marooned on mud flats. Others were bobbing about on the water, clearly dead. Can't these snails move themselves into water by skooshing along on slime like land snails do? Along the banks I saw piles of cracked snail shell fragments. Some river critters are feasting on easy-access escargot.
I hadn't seen this stump above water for several years. I used to find Creeping Spearwort sprawling across its surface. I wonder if it might come back, if the river stays this low.
Well, bless my stars, it's still here, that Creeping Spearwort! No flowers as yet, but those are surely its arching runners, now turning green, still alive after several years of inundation.