Running The Credit brings back funny memories. I learned how to paddle white-water here. There is a railroad bridge which always reminds us of the time when I confused a pry and a draw; Jon finally screamed “Your OTHER left!” I didn’t actually steer the canoe up all the way into the unfortunate fisherman who was casting there, but I wager that both of us still remember the moment.
To further complicate things, I toggle between being an amateur naturalist and a dependable bow-paddler. The rock gardens which are my responsibility to call too often coincide with an unusual bird or a botanical surprise (we found a huge wisteria in full bloom pretending to be a lilac); taking a photo with one hand in a moving vehicle pretty much guarantees rotten shots but I can’t stop myself from trying. Once in a while it works: “The Ancients” 2, which won that recent award, arose from the same situation, although I had to paste three shots together to get what I wanted.
The great joy of being down in a river valley is that sense of being totally immersed in nature, far from cities, even if civilization lurks just over the hill. At times nature even feels quite wild: near the cliff further south is a run of standing waves; Jon claims it is my job to intercept the ones that sweep in. Thus the lapfuls. Over the years I have developed an intimate empathy for all of the biblical sacrificial lambs.
We went back out today to complete the run to the lake. Rather than standing waves, the threat du jour was the golf ball — the course nearby has several holes which traverse the river -- but nobody managed to bean us and we were rewarded for our courage when we saw a family of common mergansers! Dad was sporting a formal-wear black-tie head but Mom and all of the kids were crowned with gorgeous ginger. They were ensconced on a couple of snags in mid-river along with with a couple of equally-elegant Caspian terns. Despite a considerable headwind, it was another great paddle, even ending in a colony of swans, all of whom were absorbed in re-oiling their feathers).
Suggested collective nouns:
"an Irish of mergansers"
"a snazzfest of terns"
"a preen of swans"