Saturday, October 27, 2012

One More Paddle

My canoe stays strapped to my car all spring, summer, and fall, lest some aquatic adventure beckon to me at a moment's notice.  But now as this so-called "superstorm" approaches, I'm thinking I'd better put my little boat inside, safely away from any falling trees or wind-driven debris.  But first, I had to have one more paddle, especially on this day so soft and warm and still.

My chosen destination was Lens Lake, a quiet Adirondack lake ringed by mountains and forest and studded with many acres of bog-mat islands.  Except for a small flock of Mallards, which took to the air when I rounded a bend into their sheltering cove, I saw not another soul -- human or animal -- the whole afternoon I spent on the water.  Quiet, indeed!

Although the day was dark, with dense low clouds that allowed only about 30 seconds of sun to shine here all the time I was on the lake,  the colors of the bog mats were as bright as if they were lit from within.

The Sphagnum moss that forms the bog mats comes in many colors: red, yellow, green, pink, brown, and purplish.  I love when several colors intermingle, creating patterns as pretty as Persian carpets.

The Cottongrass nodded and bobbed by the thousands above the bog mats.

Although all the summer flowers had long gone to seed,  the bright-red tubes of the Pitcher Plant leaves were still much in evidence.

Cranberry plants covered much of the bog mats with leaves of both green and purple.  But where were the berries?

Among all the thousands of Cranberry plants I saw today, these were the only berries I found (not counting the one I popped into my mouth).  Where are all the berries this fall?  I haven't seen any Winterberry, either, or Highbush Cranberry or Shining Sumac.  Have they already been eaten up by hungry creatures, who found few summer fruits earlier this year?

I found this little stump covered with Bog Lycopodium today, in the same spot as when I paddled here just a year ago.  At that time, I was puzzled by what flower could have produced the  tulip-shaped seed pods.  I now know that the flower in question is Marsh St. Johnswort, which was abundantly blooming when I last paddled Lens Lake this past August.

After exploring the bog mats, I paddled closer to the forested shore, where the smooth black water mirrored the wooded boulder-strewn banks abundant with Leatherleaf and Sheep Laurel.

With every turn of the convoluted shoreline, I was met with another beautiful vista of mountain, forest, and mirroring lake.

A single Tamarack stands out in all its golden glory against a backdrop of dark-green hemlocks, cedars, and pines.   Although the Tamarack is a conifer like all of its neighbors here, it is the only conifer that is not evergreen, turning a beautiful yellow before shedding its needles each fall.

Ah, who could not feel at peace contemplating a scene such as this?  Although the day was growing late, I was loathe to leave and just put down my paddle and drifted under the sky for a while, overwhelmed by feelings of reverence and gratefulness and pure joy.


June said...

The Bog Lycopodium makes me smile; it looks as if it should make a happy sound.
Your "reflection" photos are so so peaceful . . . make me think of yin and yang.

catharus said...

Those bog-mat islands are fascinating communities! Thanks for the ride!

Ellen Rathbone said...

Lens Lake - Lovely! I especially like that cluster of pitcher plants.

Anonymous said...

Great photos, keep them coming.

We are enjoying your blog very much.
John and Mary

it's ok to use the parking lot, go ahead, it's ok.