Saturday, September 11, 2010

What floats my boat

I love nothing better than to push off from the shore of a broad, shallow lake and float out into its center--
the entire body of water around me, quiet and still.
Sitting low to its surface in my kayak, the sky above it all seems even more huge, its open space a giant dome across which birds and dragonflies course—
while I drift as a lone, small speck below.

Bald Eagle above Salt Fork Lake

Onto the quiet water in a small arm of Salt Fork Lake, a reservoir encompassing nearly 3,000 acres of water within Ohio’s largest state park, I floated with 2 friends in 3 small crafts—
Julie's 2 canoes and my kayak.

T.R. and Julie on the Lake

Fanning out from this hidden shore, we spread across the water, the entire space in this small corner ours alone.
Each carving a distinct path,
each finding his own perfect treasures to explore,

we paddled beneath the wide, arcing flight of a young eagle.

And were held in orbit around a tiny spot of color as she rested on the darkened remains of a flooded tree stump, now a pint-sized island sprouting elfin versions of the earthbound greenery along the shore.

Julie & ?

Question Mark butterfly on submerged stump

T.R. & ?

Bit by bit, we’d drift apart, pirouetting across the water to look into the face of a dancing fox hidden in weathered wood,

exchange a smile for a hand-delivered sandwich,

or paddle buoyantly--
because the freedom of water and waves feels like nothing else.

Then fall into line and speed to the opposite shore as one up ahead spotted a distant object standing motionless in the shallow water—

and knew all three would want to see.

Great Egret

As we watched the great white bird, a light rain fell across the glassy surface, and we sat in silence--
alone with the lake, but not.

My paddling companions:

Julie Zickefoose, author of Julie Zickefoose on Blogspot, writer, naturalist, NPR commentator, watercolor painter, gardener, packer of wonderful lunches, Mether to Chet Baker, fellow Ohioan,...friend,

and T.R. Ryan, author of From the Faraway, Nearby, photographer extraordinaire, talented journalist and writer, world traveler, conservationist, Oklahoman,...friend.

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Lisa at Greenbow said...

I don't see how a day could be any better sharing it with friends in nature.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I agree!
And places like this (quiet and vacant) are few and far between.
This day was a rare treat!

Murr Brewster said...

Might I reserve a spot on your next outing?

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Ooo, Murr, we'd have such a fantastic trip...

KaHolly said...

Nina, your gift of expression is truly inspirational. I read your posts and think, "I feel all this, but could never put it into words like this." The other early morning, as I sat with my coffee and watched the sun rise over the harbor, mesmerized for the next hour or so with the perfectness of the day and all of the activity that carries on while most of us are still sleeping, I couldn't help but wonder what you would have to say about it all if you were here. You, and Heather. You both blow me away. Great post, by the way. I really enjoyed it. ~karen

giggles said...

Dawggonnit giiiiiiirl! You're in my old neck of the woods!!! Looks like a fantastically fruitful day in more than one way!!!

Mary said...

Did you feel or hear my spirit? Like, like, LIKE!

Kat said...

I'm going to dream of this tonight. I love to canoe and kayak, but there's very little standing water around here. I love the buoyancy, the taste of accidentally sipped lake water, the smell of an old wooden oar...
What a perfect day you had, and what sweet dreams I'll have tonight!
Thank you so much for sharing!!!

Randy Emmitt said...

I enjoyed your trip on the water greatly! It brings back memories of when I lived in Ohio and used to float East Fork lake, saw a Golden Eagle there once. Now in NC once saw 6 Bald Eagles on Jordan lake at one time. Best to get out before the power boats get out there.

holdingmoments said...

A perfect day Nina, spent with good friends and nature.

Susan Ellis said...

Beautiful writing..and spending an afternoon with friends on the water is pretty much perfect. When I'm out in my kayak, I immediately breathe more slowly, and my senses are amplified- it's just a such nice way to take it all in.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...


TR Ryan said...

I love being able to come back here any time and relive the day! You are a beautiful friend!

TR Ryan said...

I love being able to come back here any time and relive the day! You are a beautiful friend!

Kathi said...

Lovely post, Nian. Looks like it was a very special day. So nice that you can travel and visit more now without the constraints of a job.

~Kathi, anxiously anticipating retirement

PNR Status said...

I agree!
And places like this (quiet and vacant) are few and far between.