Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16: River

When I have time to myself to head into the woods and look for birds, one of my favorite places to go is Coastal Mountains Land Trust's Ducktrap River Preserve. While my husband was occupied with writing today, I woke up blissfully late, drove to Lincolnville, and hit the trail. Because of my late start the bird song was winding down for the day. Sun shone on the river, and as has often happened when the trees aren't dripping with birds, I crouched down on the mossy riverbank amid the ferns and simply watched the water.

In the past this exercise of living in the moment has brought me interesting rewards. Once a veery walked slowly out of the woods and came within ten yards of me. Another time a red-shouldered hawk flew low overhead, yelling at me. Sometimes an invisible winter wren will suddenly burst into his enchanting song across the river, the long serenade accompanying perfectly the rushing sound of the river. Often the drumming of a ruffed grouse can be heard like a heartbeat thrumming from deep within the woods behind me.

The river is not deep here, nor wide. Its gravel bed, clearly visible through sepia-toned water colored by tannin from the roots of conifers upstream, appeals to wild Atlantic salmon--the Ducktrap is one of eight remaining rivers that still hosts a (small) indigenous population of this endangered fish. The initial stretch of the northbound trail closely follows the river for about a quarter mile, offering several good vantage points to sit and absorb the beauty of the place. I won't say quiet beauty, because the trail there is still close to the speedway that is Route 52. But this morning was relatively quiet, except for a handful of warblers and the low "quork, quork" of a nearby raven.

The raven's call made me think of my husband--ravens were the theme of our wedding, and tomorrow's our seventh wedding anniversary. I'm sure he would much rather have been on that riverbank with me today, casting a fly into the current where I saw first one, then another fish rise above the surface of the water.

From the mossy banks
I watch fish rise in eddies.
Wish you were with me.

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