Constant Waterman 

From the Journals of Constant Waterman

Heron

The crocuses, both purple and white, spread to the buttery sun. This Sunday the temperature finally attains the fifties; the first of the male goldfinches dons his brilliant array of courtship plumage.

I drag my goldfinch-colored kayak from its hibernation above the woodshed, dump out the spiders and put it into my truck. Down the road a short piece lies a public landing just above the weir across Wood River.

A couple of men lean across a pickup truck and jaw. Their amphibious canoes lean on the bank, their tails still in the water. They’ve had a swim in the millpond, and now can’t see much reason to leave the water. If left to themselves, they’ll wriggle back down the bank and venture off.

In moments, I am afloat. The recent torrential rains have swollen this normally docile river. The gravid millpond approaches parturition; the water drops noisily over the concrete dam.

I work upstream for most of a mile to where the pond spreads out and becomes a marsh. The freshet has swallowed whatever dry spits existed - the underbrush stands up to its waist in water; the river runs into the weathered wood duck boxes.

It takes me a while to locate the actual river - I haven’t been up this way in a couple of years, and the copious water flows and spreads with abandon. There - that sandy slope with the stout white pine mark where the river bends.

Suddenly, a red tailed hawk, a-roost in a tall red maple, takes flight overhead in silent, awesome, graceful, astounding beauty. She wheels once and disappears among the budding trees. My dripping paddles poised, my gaze aloft, I drift back into the cattails and get a well-deserved scolding from some redwings.  Continued