It should not surprise that so elemental a word as point has several geographic meanings. Wherever land meets water, from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Point Pleasant, Florida, point describes the projection of dry ground into the surrounding sea, bay, lake, or river. In Appalachia, point may refer to the termination of a mountain ridge projecting into a confluence of valleys. Even on prairies, points abound…In river morphology, a point is the inside or convex curve of a meander, where sediment tends to aggrade. The condition of vegetation on a stream’s meander point is a useful indicator of its ecological health: if vegetation is colonizing the point, the health trend is likely positive. The state of the meander point is usually a better indicator of the stream’s overall condition than the presence or absence of erosion on the concave or outer curve of the channel. Erosion and consequent bank collapse on the outside of the bend can be a natural feature of the stream’s morphological dynamic.
~ William DeBuys, Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney
Early this morning, just after sunrise, M and I took the kayak down to the Point for a short (about 45 minutes) paddle out on the Manokin River and the creeks that flow into the river. We originally planned to explore some water trails that go through salt marshes north of us, but the heavy rains from Hurricane Matthew and the storm system that came through the week before Matthew have caused a mosquito explosion and even repellent doesn’t seem to keep them all at bay.
Give yourself the opportunity of silence and begin to develop your listening in order to hear, deep within yourself, the music of your own spirit.
~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Celtic Book of Wisdom
It was foggy — as it has been every morning this week — when we left the house. We thought it might, as it has all week, burn off quickly. We were wrong, and it was one of those things I was delighted to be wrong about. There is something enchanting and peaceful about mist-shrouded autumn mornings, and I found that to be even more true out on the water. Even the other animals seem to sense it, and become less skittish, less likely to fly or swim or run away.
There was little to no wind, and the water was mostly calm. Cormorants were swimming and fishing in the river, one of them swallowing a fish just as I stepped out on the beach. I could hear hawks whistling and eagles chattering somewhere off in the distance. Sound carries strangely in the fog and over water, and almost seems to surround you.
Aside from gulls calling and the occasional quork-quork of fish crows, the only sound we heard out on the water was the splashing of water whenever we would paddle or a fish would jump, and even that seemed muffled by the fog. At one point a large fish, or maybe it was a ray or skate, swam by, undulating in the water, a large reflective flash to indicate it was there and moving through the water alongside of us for a while.
I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
~ Chaim Potok, The Chosen
We paddled past a large house where there is a private dock and boat ramp. There is an osprey nest on the dock, but the osprey are gone or perhaps they didn’t use it this year. The house, and 34 acres of land to go with it, was for sale. It’s off the market now. The original asking price was in the vicinity of $1,700,000. Before it was taken off the market, the price had dropped to the $800,000’s. Considering how much waterfront property there is with it, that’s a really good deal (although one I certainly can’t afford!). I don’t think it sold. I think the owners decided to take it off the market for a little while, a trick to reset the date it went on the market. Houses are not selling well down this way, especially expensive houses. That’s too bad. This would be a lovely place to retire, and not all homes are that expensive. The general cost of living is lower here, too.
Rounding a bend, we made our way to the creek that eventually ends up near our house. It was windier out that way, and the waves were a little choppy, so we didn’t go too far in that direction. I think M would like to have gone farther on and explored some more, but he has a chicken for a kayaking partner and he’s very good about accommodating me and my hesitations, fears, etc. It’s baby steps for me. Or baby paddling. I’ll gain more confidence the more I do it, and then we’ll be able to go out on bigger explorations and adventures.
In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.
~ Robert Lynd
There were Great Blue Herons on the shore, some on the sandy beaches and some almost hidden in the grasses. A few stayed where they were and watched us go by as they continued to fish. Others flew off with loud croaking and squawking sounds, scolding us for disturbing them while they hunt for breakfast.
As you might have guessed, I took a lot of photos. I used Lulu, my little point & shoot, everything-proof, camera. I don’t think I’ll ever work up the nerve to take the Canon out on the water. Not in the kayak, at any rate. There is always water on the camera when I take it out kayaking. That might because I am not worried about it since I could drop Lulu in the water and she would be fine.
Thank you for paddling along with me today. I’ll show you some more from this trip out on the water when we meet for our weekly coffee chat. In the meantime, let’s gather out on the dock to watch the sunset this evening. It’s at 6:18 PM. They say there will be meteor showers tonight, too, but I’m not sure we’ll be able to see them. There is a cold front on the way and that might cloud things up for a while. It’s worth taking a peek later just to see if there is anything to see.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
If you’re looking for the Walktober post, you will find it here. Please post your links there. If you are new here and/or unfamiliar with Walktober, that post will tell you a little about it. All you have to do is take a walk (jog, run, bicycle, skate, etc.) and post about it, with or without photos. You have three more days, but will gladly extend it if you need more time. Just let me know.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 31) The magic of fog in autumn. 32) The songs and calls and chatter of birds in the early morning. 33) The honor of watching the cormorants fish. 34) Paddling on calm water, making our way through the fog. 35) The slowly advancing colors of autumn beginning to show in the foliage.