Sunday, September 21, 2008

Walrus Days of Summer

Nearly four weeks to the day that I left home for Georgia, I finally put my kayak back in the water and went for a paddle. It felt so good to be back in the saddle. There was enough wind that the waves rocked the hull and soon I was making all those unconscious checks and balances that an experienced paddler does so automatically to avoid a capsize. Leaving the beach and heading out, I had to think about what I was doing. Interesting. I didn't realize I'd lose the 'touch' so quickly, but it all came back fairly quickly.

I was aware as well that yesterday was the second to last day of summer, today being the end. There is definitely a nip in the air. The trees are losing their green chlorophyll, revealing the colours in the leaves which has been masked all summer. We'll be getting a hard frost any day now.

It reminds me of walrus hunting. For some reason, I have this image in my mind of being on an ice pan in Northern Foxe Basin years ago, cutting up two animals we'd caught for winter dog food. It was close to mid-night and the sun, for the first time that summer, had dipped for a moment below the horizon before rising again to continue on its circular journey through the sky. I reflected, at the time, that the brief arctic summer was quickly coming to an end. It was August 6th...

We get a bit more summer here at the 45th parallel, but once it begins to fade, it goes quickly. Before long I'll be skiing and thinking about where to go paddling this winter...

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