Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Solitary Vice

You can see more going on around you if you keep quiet and still; this is true for scuba diving, walks down by the St. Lawrence and life in general. The sun is stretching itself now and developing some real warmth; the only ice remaining is a thin fringe on the river bank, and sheets of candle-wax ice in the sheltered bays. Turning round slowly my eye was caught by a coyote crossing the field with a steady gallop like a fox's; he was bigger, of course, dog-size; sandy-coloured with a black tip to his tail. I was downwind of him, and motionless so as not to scare him, so he hung around for a few minutes, all business, searching for food. The deer must have picked up his scent; normally I have to beat them off with a stick, but there were none anywhere today.

The blue herons are back; one flew overhead with a stately slo-mo flap of wings, legs stretched out behind and neck coiled up. Two or three hawks were up there too, balancing on the thermals, checking out the progress of the geese nesting season; it doen't bode well for goslings, but it's early yet.

The high waters of last fall left a line of flotsam and all kinds of pack-rat treasure. Haul so far: abandoned fishing float (good toy for Riley the cat); two plastic toy spades (will do nicely for spreading salt on ice, and bird seed on lawns); a plastic tent peg; nice piece of two-by-four for campfire kindling, and a large plastic scoop to use as a bailer for my rented rowboat. Also seen: a complete set of sturdy steps which would have made a seviceable plant stand--alas! too heavy to carry.

The joy of a deserted riverbank is that I can indulge these eccentricities and no-one's any the wiser.

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