Thursday, August 27, 2009

A really nice day on the river

It was Sunday, August 23, 2009… and I finally got a chance to take another good, honest trip down the Crow River. So many things were important to me about this trip, and I will share them here, in no particular order of significance.

The trip was important because I knew the next day I would be undergoing surgery. Nothing life-threatening, by any means… but muscle repairs that have kept me off the water most of this year, and which threaten to keep me away for the balance of the season. It would be only my fourth trip of the summer, and potentially my last. My wife, Julie, has been a careful nurse the past several weeks, making sure I don’t “over-do it,” and limiting my trips. It is for my own good, I know, and I also realize how hard it has been for her to play the role of police… because she knows how much I enjoy my time on the water, and hates to be the person that suggests I should stay away from it. "But today, I will go for the two- to three-hour trip I’ve been waiting weeks for."

This voyage was significant, too, because the day marked one year since we lost my dad, W. Eugene Anderson. The river remains a good place for us to have a private talk. Dad was a Navy man. Anytime I am near the water, I feel near him.

I noted the depth of the Crow. After voluminous rains moved through our area recently, the height of the water had swallowed-up boulders and logs that were obstacles during my last trip down the river. Places where I was made to walk my kayak before—because the shallows were not enough to float it—are now up to two or three feet deep… offering only a riffle of evidence that they still lurk beneath the surface.

All of those logs were perches, before, where turtles would sun themselves, or where herons and dragonflies could land. Very few rocks are available now… and any logs that still offer an exposed surface are crowded with painted turtles or large soft-shells. There is significant competition for any reachable, dry real estate.

The depth of the water added to the weight of the river, and the natural pull of gravity made it lunge toward the Mississippi even faster than usual. So in a way, I was cheated from the three hours I had hoped to spend on the water; the velocity reduced the length of my trip to only two hours. My memory had to work quickly, gathering mental pictures that would have to endure, perhaps, until next season.

When it has been a long time since your last trip down the river, or when you know it could be a long time before your next, one tends to look at the waterway with a different lens. On this day I took few pictures… partly because not much wildlife was visible, and partly because my eyes were soaking everything up, leaving little time to focus on the camera.

© 2009 Mike D. Anderson, St. Michael, MN. All rights reserved.

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