I am cranky and my friend kicks me out, go for a paddle, get out of here.
I paddle the edges, working my arms in long strokes to get away from the camps. I come upon a mother and baby duck swimming, we startle each other, because I am paddling quietly, looking in the water. Listening to the quiet of the trees creaking on the hill, watching the sunlight from the water as it refracts on the green boughs of the trees, and paddling through this place I call the Tree Graveyard. The incense of the pine boughs sends prayers up to the heavens, and I quiet my mind, contemplative, meditative, prayerful, respectful in this silent place.
I quiet my thoughts, and simply am on the water, weaving my way through the broken stumps and fallen trees, paying attention only to the pathway straight ahead, watching for things that will catch the canoe, and leave me out of the water, or in it. I see a bird splashing in the water, and I paddle closer to watch thinking it is a duck, but maybe not, because it was making a croaking sound, do ravens swim? Is the bird stranded in the water? I see a flash of white, a bald eagle? As I get closer it is a loon. I am astonished, I thought they were shy. I rest my oars on the top of the boat, just marveling in this beautiful sight. It dives down and I paddle on but I am shocked to see it come up somewhat close to me, I thought they could dive for long long spaces, and I do not understand why he is so close. I continue to paddle as he dives again. I have no idea where he will come up but continue on my lazy haphazard direction, again he comes up too close, what is he doing? The next time he dives, I angle sharply away from him and then see he is behind a stump. How did he get there so fast. Then I notice two babies, and I am between the original loon and this new grouping. Oh. I am cautious, I do not want to move, I have to move to give them space, I cannot move because I would have to paddle backwards and I am concerned, will they attack? I sit still and take pictures, eventually they move off but not before they call a few times, and I mimic the call, and then as I finally turn away from them, they parallel my path, at a distance, for a few seconds. Note you are not supposed to harass loons, they are notoriously shy and will abandon their nests if pressured by lookers, this encounter was purely my not realizing it was a loon until I was several canoe lengths away, and then trying to get away only to run smack into the mama and her large babies. I apologized to them as I paddled away.
Soon I see a big doe and two fawns on the shore, drinking from the lake.
It pays to be really quiet, to have no goal, to have no intention.