Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A Quick Paddle, Abundant Blooms

When was our last lovely sunny day?  Ah yes, it was last Monday! But Mondays are the days I usually do my week's grocery shopping, and it was already afternoon.  Would I have time to fit in a paddle on the Hudson River above the Sherman Island Dam? Well, I would MAKE the time.  So I hurried up to Moreau and slipped my canoe in the river where it flows behind an island and in and out of forested rocky coves. How fortunate I am to have such an unspoiled stretch of river, located so close to home that I can just pop in for a hour or two of drifting and dreaming among such natural beauty.

This stretch of the Hudson has become very popular among paddlers over the past few years, but today I  had the river all to myself.  Myself and some Mallards, that is. But they didn't seem to mind my presence as I let the slow current carry me silently past their perch. I think we were all mesmerized by the forest's reflection in shimmering cool-green ripples.

This stretch of the Hudson calls to me most strongly this late in the summer. For August is when the banks are abloom with a marvelous mix of riverbank beauties, those colorful native wildflowers that thrive despite water-levels rising and falling with every rainfall or changes in hydroelectric dam operations both upstream and down. Just in this short section of bank I see Cardinal Flower, Spotted Joe-Pye Weed, Boneset, Arrowhead, Green-headed Coneflower, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, and at least one sprig of Marsh St. John's Wort.

Another stretch of bank in one quiet cove has ceded most of its space to a thicket of Cardinal Flowers, the brilliant red of their florets blazing like flames when lit by a ray of sun.

Abundant clusters of Sneezeweed vie with that Cardinal Flower to claim the title of Showiest Flower of the Riverside.

The Green-headed Coneflowers would offer some competition for that title, too, except that they usually grow so tall that they tower well above a canoeist's eye level. I was lucky that this one stalk, usually towering, was bending low over the water, so that I could enjoy a closer view of its brilliant yellow flowers.

And of course, since it's August, the goldenrods are coming into their glory. On this giant boulder, both  Grass-leaved Goldenrod (the shorter clump) and what could be Tall Goldenrod have found a footing somehow in the cracks in the rock.

After all that burgeoning brilliance on every riverbank, it might be easy to overlook the quieter beauty of Marsh St. John's Wort's satiny pink blooms. But because it was after three in the afternoon, I was on the lookout for them, since I know that they open their flowers about that time, and not much earlier. And there they were! So dainty, so pretty! So worth the wait, for sure.

Ah, but if it was 3 P.M., that meant I'd better get off the river and head to the supermarket. Believe me, it was hard to leave this place of cool green beauty, quiet water, and gorgeous floral abundance.  How lucky for me, that I can return any time!


threecollie said...

Your words and photos translate the tranquility you experienced amazingly well! Felt like being there. I thought of you a lot this weekend while racing south for a single day at the Outer Banks, then hustling back to NY. I saw whole states full of plants and trees that I didn't recognize and had no idea where to start looking. For example small trees with sharply cut compound leaves and light purple flowers. No clue. Alan figured out Crepe Myrtle, but we still have found the little trees.

The Furry Gnome said...

You are lucky indeed!