Sunday, July 07, 2013

On Paddling Up the Smith River With the Tide: Seeing the eagle was our lote tree


Yesterday we conquered Smith River. For us that means we went as far up it as we could. Where the channel narrowed and had a flow, it was time to turn around. We do flatwater only.

Smith River is a tidal river, my favorite body of water. Ideally you hit a tidal river going up with the tide, and going down as the tide goes out. That means you either have to consult a tide table, or just be lucky.

I had another destination in mind for our paddle, one where the tides didn't matter, but when I noted that we could be on the water at high high tide, as opposed to low high, the very best possible circumstance, I told Bonita we needed to do the Smith instead.

We'd done the Smith before, but the river was already half emptied out when we started, so we didn't get very far, and we saw plenty of mud banks. This time we we zigged and zagged to the max, right to the point where the river stops being influenced by the tides, several miles up from the mouth.

Just as we approached that point, over the pool of water that marked the end of the tidal stretch, we saw an eagle, an immature that did not yet have the distinctive white head and tail. When that eagle flew away we saw a mature eagle as well join it in flight.

Our eagle sighting was the "lote tree" on our watery path. See the eagles and we could go no farther. Time to turn around. -gw

Say, this of a certainty is the Garden of Repose, the loftiest Point of adoration, the Tree beyond which there is no passing, the blessed Lote-Tree, the Most Mighty Sign, the most beauteous Countenance and the most comely Face.

Selections From the Writings of the Báb

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