Sunday, August 17, 2008

Trading One Stick for Another

The retreat didn't make me homesick after all.

True, there are lots of trees, just like in Maine. But they are different trees (well, some of them, anyway). There are more birch than I was used to in southern Maine (though farther north in Maine there are some nice stands of them). More deciduous and less evergreen. More...something. I don't know how to describe it. The best I can say is that they shared the same sense of isolation, even if they did not give it to me in the same way.

There were two cabins at the retreat. One was the main house, the other this:

I stole the newly made window seat in the above bay window for my bed

so I could fall asleep watching the moonlight on the water. And when I woke up to see this:

I knew that I hadn't chosen wrongly in ignoring the bedrooms. I let the fog lift a little, since I hadn't paddled this lake before and didn't know what to expect. Then I slipped into the mist.

The lake was smallish and comfortable.

I didn't get close to the loons, but I saw this eagle when it was in flight. (Jean took the wonderful picture of it.)

Probably the freakiest thing was being able to paddle in this:

(Well, really, the night looked more like this

but either Jean or Deanne did something cool with the filter on the shot that one of them took, so I just had to add the blue night pic as well. In reality, it was as inky black as you see above.)

There is no way you would catch me paddling on a lake in Maine in the dark, no matter how good the moonlight (Oh all right, maybe I would paddle during full moon on a lake I knew well. Maybe.).

In Maine there are these things called boulders. In the lakes. Sometimes scraping the kayak bottom if you misjudge the depth of the water when looking down into it. So night-time kayaking in Maine (for people like me, anyway) is a no-no.

The other big difference in the lakes is the amount of vegetation. The bottom of Maine lakes look like this (unless there is milfoil present)

while here I found plants like this:

and this:

and this:

and even more in the still water over by the beaver dam.*

I have to say that I actually felt pretty content to have traded this stick

for this one.

(Besides, I got crochet time in while lazing on the end of the dock in the late afternoon sun, so all is well.)

*Note to anyone paddling late at night on a beaver-inhabited lake. The loud, crashing splash you may hear while paddling by yourself on the darkest part of the lake is not the entry of a crazed moose into the water, intent upon kayak attacking, nor is the belly flop of an inordinately large bear mistaking you for a floating snack. It's simply one fat beaver slapping his tail on the water.

Little twit about scared me to death, let me tell you.

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