Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's a Watery World

Lest you think the moonlight paddle was all romance, there was plenty of reality, too. For example . . .

At one point, logistics required us to catch a ride in a pickup truck. For some reason I decided it would be a good idea to ride in the bed. It was only when we were zooming down the highway that I realized what a poor decision that was. Of course, nothing bad happened (praise be!). And next time someone asks me what's the most dangerous and/or stupid thing I've done lately, I've got my answer ready.

I got pretty much soaked during the paddle, due to poor paddle technique. The temperature was in the 50s and I felt nicely warmed while on the river. By the time the bonfire portion of the evening arrived, though, I could hardly stand close enough to the fire. Eventually I noticed that I was producing my own fog -- my wet clothes were actually steaming as they dried!

We returned to civilization just in time for a midnight supper and to watch Lady Gaga drop the ball on Times Square, followed by a long, wide-ranging talk out in the garden. All in all, 2011 ended and 2012 began in a perfect equilibrium of active and quiet, social and solitary, wild and cultivated.

On New Year's Day I still felt like being outside, so I explored some new territory. There is a wetlands side to that lovely reserve along the St. Johns River (photos here and here), but I hadn't seen it. It seemed like a good match for the new year.

Apparently I was the only person who felt like a walk so early. I had the place to myself, and it was worth the small effort.

When you walk through here

you reach all this

While the other side feels very old, on this side it is easy to imagine you are the first person ever to see it. Perhaps it's because the floodplain is just that, and everything there gets periodically immersed and reborn by the lake's waters.

The grasses grow thickly and are matted flat from the water. They feel slightly spongy to walk on, even though it's dry there now. It's a good clean place to be on the first day of a clean new year.

On your way back, if you happen to look up, you might see

Anybody home? Yes, there is! Two anybodys, in fact.

Good thing I had my camera this time. I didn't even see the second bald eagle until I looked at the photos.


  1. COOL!!!! Bald eagles? I remember seeing some on the Hudson, amazing birds.

  2. Yes, they are always a thrill! (Next time I will take binoculars.)

  3. What a wonderful adventure to end the year! And your pictures are gorgeous.


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