Monday, August 13, 2007

11 Sunsets

Well, I didn't really do my duty this year in photographing my vacation in Canada. Apologies especially to family - I got no still pictures of people other than myself, only video, which I haven't figured out how to attach or link yet. No doubt it's very easy, but I lack patience.

When I think back on vacations, however, the experience eventually coalesces into a series of snapshots of memory, anyway; vignettes, scenes, set pieces, whatever (Is it possible for something to 'coalesce' into separate elements?). Rather than remembering time spent as the continuous flow of experience and sense it really was, I think on images, brief moments or events, often never thinking of or recalling the connective tissues between them.

A dense, deep purple blueberry cobbler, swimming in a warm perfume of fruit and sugar.

An overactive, bellicose hummingbird chasing a red-breasted nuthatch from limb to limb of a ponderosa pine, as if the confused nuthatch had any interest in the hanging jar of sugarwater that the hummingbird was so keen on.

A tense standoff between a small brown crayfish and an even smaller minnow over a choice spot at the side of a nice rock.

Moving through several Irish reels, myself on fiddle and my cousin Brad on guitar, as the grubby, enticing odors of oil, beer batter and walleye waft around us. 'The Maid Behind the Bar' was particularly successful. Less so 'Jenny's Welcome to Charlie' but what a title!

Playing duets with my sister Esme, violin and cello, and helping her with some practicing tips that came very slowly to me in my musical efforts over the years.
Esme, remember-
1) Before you start: deep breath, fingers in place, bow on string - start cleanly and thoughtfuly.
2) Work on short musical phrases, repeatedly, and listen carefully and correct the mistakes that you hear.
3) Don't practice wrong, practice right! (Sounds like the title of a self-help book, right?) When you start playing a passage well, keep playing it until it comes naturally and automatically.

One day cruising out to the big bay to fish the Gull Island reef, we passed by a mama and baby bear swimming between two islands, a breathtaking sight that I'll never forget.

Listening to the late evening calls and songs of several loons as I lay out on the dock watching the stars appear and brighten in the night sky, brushing the mosquitos away from my legs.

Two cormorants swimming behind an enormous white pelican, just their snaking necks rising from the water, likes remoras following a shark.

A sudden burst of avian activity from a mixed-species flock through a stand of ponderosas, where a moment before there had been nothing but the wind and a gull circling over the reeds and then I marked: yellow warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, black and white warbler, blackburnian warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, nashville warbler, red-breasted nuthatch, black-capped chickadee, red-eyed vireo, and a puzzling couple of sparrows - Savannah or Lincoln? Looked more like a savannah, though no yellow lores, But we're not close to any fields, really.

A sunset for every night, rarely spectacular but always unique - one night just a warm, gentle orange glow arching over the horizon in an otherwise clear, deepening blue sky, another night just three small clouds backlit and outlined in brilliant fire, interior dark and stormy, slowly drifting.

Heavy swells crashing through a wide expanse of reeds, whitecaps cresting from the steady intense wind crossing the open miles of Whitefish bay, closing my eyes and just feeling the day.

The thrill of pulling in my first Northern Pike on a fly-rod. Kudos to a green Clouser minnow (and to dad for choosing it).

Thanks to everybody up there for their hospitality and companionship - Dad, Lisa, Esme, Brad, Eric, Nik, Jim, Sue, Harper, Cambo, Bob, Ellen, Bill and Diana.

I hope everybody is enjoying their summer!

1 comment:

Nicholas said...


Your killing me here, I missed Canada so much.

Actually thank you for your descriptions. I think almost better than pictures. At least different. Sorry I missed out on playing with you guys too, I have been practicing quite a bit lately.

Are you ready for your hectic September?

Take care