A warm October afternoon.
Clear blue sky, sunshine and ever the slightest breeze.
Perfect for canoeing on Caesar Creek Lake.
Even more perfect than one of a summer's day.
The water level is low.
Either in preparation for catching winter runoff or as a result of this season's dryness, this U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control project reveals the remnants of the many trees that once covered the banks of Caesar Creek, before the nearly 3000-acre lake was created in the late 1970s.
Navigating between them becomes a sort of slalom course.
Large muddy swirls appear and obscure the bottom, as startled fish scoot from beneath us.
Broad expanses of exposed silt and sand become attractive feeding grounds for herons and migratory shore birds. The broad belly of our red Old Town canoe, barely clearing the shallows-- now, not more than several inches deep.
Cormorants float, neck-deep in blue water, then emerge to sun, wings held high on one of many protruding logs.
Back and forth, in small flocks they fly past us--almost at eye-level.
So close that I can see their orange chins clearly.
In the narrowest finger, we paddle on, past shores crawling with late summer brightness.
Inaccessible to all except canoes and kayaks, this undisturbed water is clearer than the usual murky brown of mid-summer.
And from the sunny shore, a katydid sings summer's last song.
all photos click to enlarge