Monday, October 18, 2010

A Paddler's Haven

It's been so windy the past few weeks, I haven't ventured out on the river in my canoe. But today, despite a brisk breeze tossing the branches around, I decided to risk a paddle. Down through the woods at Potter's Point I went, and here was my reward: a quiet haven, where the river runs behind an island and all was lovely and calm.

There are many Black Tupelo trees along this stretch of the river, nearly every one of which has had its trunk girdled by beavers. How they continue to leaf out and set fruit each summer is a great mystery to me, but I'm very glad that they do. Their foliage in autumn is splendid to behold.

The forested banks along the river offer many charming spots to slip into the woods. One of my favorites is here on a promontory I call Bear's Bathtub. When I climb from my boat and clamber up the rocky banks, I enter a pine-scented chamber where thick green moss and centuries of pine needles cushion and quiet my every step.

Here in this sheltered sanctuary, Pale Corydalis can often be found in bloom as late as December. There were many flowers on the plants today.

Although the day was mostly overcast, the clouds parted momentarily to let bright light illumine the leaves of this baby Chestnut Oak.

Are the undersides of these leaves pubescent (downy)? Hard to tell from this photo, but my friend Ed tells me that if they are pubescent, they would be the leaves of Swamp White Oak instead of Chestnut Oak. I'll have to look more closely next time I return to the site.

Another wave of sunlight lit up this bank of Low Bush Blueberry.

No comments: