Huron River, Hudson Mills to Dexter MetroPark
21 May 2013
In a couple of days, Ellen is headed out of town for the better part of a week so we thought, why not squeeze in a quick kayak trip while we can? Actually, we had a fairly long trip out of town in mind, but the threat of bad weather led us to choose this shorter trip on our home river, closer to home. This ended up being a great piece of luck for us–the animals on the Huron must have been putting on a pageant or something. We saw so many animals! To put it in the form of a list (corresponding to the order of slides above), and with kudos to Ellen who is a whiz with our super-zoom camera:
- An adult bald eagle! This bird had the mien of a veteran predator. It perched on its dead tree and calmly watched us float by, beak just a little bit open and looking dangerous.
- An osprey! I was the first one to lay eyes on it when it swooped down and got a fish out of the river in front of me. Then, downriver a bit, it nicely posed for a picture for Ellen.
- A red-bellied woodpecker! It hopped from tree to tree to tree but managed to sit still long enough for Ellen to get a few good shots of it.
- A bossy Oriole, who seemed to be constantly yelling, “GET OFF MY PROPERTY!”
- A crazy goose who decided to roost atop an upturned set of tree roots, like it was condo living for water fowl.
- A small furry mammal I cannot identify for sure, but it was no muskrat–I think it was a mink.
- Snakes ahoy! Ellen stumbled upon a snake paddling over to take a picture of a cool flower; she found another one draped on some dead fall. I spied one swimming across the river with the speed and determination of a long-haul trucker–actually, that one was scariest, as it charged Ellen and then kind of tried to board her boat, before it got freaked out itself.
- Then there was a heron, a staple on the Huron but in abundant company today, as you can see here.
- Also no small amount of turtles, but all of them (like the one above) leatherbacks. Leatherbacks always look to me like hard shell turtles left out in the sun too long, until they melt. And that got me thinking, what profiteth it a turtle to have a soft shell?
- Finally, a crane. (Heh heh.)
So the big news was the animal parade. But also, this was the first day the weather was warm enough that I felt like sticking my hand in the water to take some shots with my underwater camera. As a notso hotso swimmer with a mortal fear of drowning, I am not always thrilled about looking at underwater pictures, but I’m fond of the ones I took because they remind me of one of my favorite passages from Julian of Norwich’s book. Julian was an English mystic (also the first woman to write a book in English) who had a series of showings, or revelations from God. I think she’s especially good at deploying imagery that ordinary kinds of folks can access. Her underwater scene is a good example of this:
One tyme mine understondyng was led downe into the see ground, and there I saw hill and dalis grene, semand, as it were, mosse begrowne, with wrekke and
with gravel. Than I understode thus, that if a man or a woman were under the broade watyr, if he might have sight of God, so as God is with a man continually, he should be save in body and soule and take no harme; and, overpassing, he should have mor solace and comfort than al this world can telle. For He will that we levyn that we se Him continually thowe that us thinkeith that it be but litl, and in this beleve He makith us evermore to getyn grace. For He will be sene and He wil be sowte, He wil be abedyn and He wil be trosted.
None of this makes me want to abandon my lifejacket, but I am always glad to see something in the world and think, “huh, Julian saw this too!”