August 24, 2009
Up a creek
My mother and I both like to paddle up the creek that winds its way through the cattails. My mother is a great person to canoe with: she never complains when I get distracted by the view and forget to steer, she is willing to go off and investigate whatever odd things we come across, and she’s very patient when I stop paddling altogether to take my camera out of the dry bag. Unlike the rest of my family, she doesn’t say things like, “Don’t you already have a photo of a water lily?”
We took the left fork of the creek because we wanted to see where the beavers had built their lodge for the winter. Sure enough, as we came around a curve, we saw the big pile of mud and sticks, a thick home where the beavers could raise their young. As we paddled up to the lodge, my mother said, “Hey, look! A snake.”
If snakes symbolize change, seeing this creature was entirely appropriate. My life will be changing dramatically this week as my three oldest kids, plus about a dozen extras, go off to college and grad school, leaving me home with just my husband and With-a-Why.
The water snake lay stretched across the top of the beaver lodge, sunning herself in this dry, sheltered spot. Lumps in her thick body indicated she’d just eaten. I stood up in the canoe to take a photo, and when I touched a stick on the lodge, just to keep my balance, the vibration got her attention. She raised her head and her tongue flicked the warm breeze.
That’s my mother in the top photo.
Posted by jo(e)