Sunday, May 20th
Before breakfast, Al and I went back again to Ja She creek and basked in its beauty and watched the fish swimming far below us as we floated around. I’m not sure if I mentioned that to get to Ja She creek, we’d have to portage about 20 feet across land. Gave me lots of experience of getting in and out of the canoe. I only did that “splits thing” once. You only need to do it once.
In fact, I was getting so comfortable being around a canoe, that Al decided it was time for me to take the helm and sit in the back for a paddling lesson.
During my first lesson, I learned that I have much to learn.
Canoeing is so second nature to Al by now, that he couldn’t really tell me what to do. Eventually, I’m sure that I will get it. But not this time. Heck, Al–positioned in the front of the canoe and sitting backwards so that he could instruct– could paddle better than I could! And he wasn’t even looking at where we were going!
I, on the other hand, made lovely circular patterns in the water. Around and around we would go. Or, if I went straight, it was into places I was wishing to avoid. We ended up laughing so hard, that tears were streaming from our eyes.
When we got back to camp, a trip that took quite a circuitous route as you can imagine, we googled to see the exact time of the eclipse. ( Although we had great wireless reception, we didn’t use the equipment. Didn’t feel right. In fact, I journaled the “old fashioned” way and am using my notes for these blog entries.)
It was a lovely, cloudless day that we spent doing as little as possible and enjoying life to its fullest. We pulled out Al’s tree finding guide and tried to name all the trees in the area–never knew there were so many different varieties of oak. Al practiced bush crafting, lighting a fire using magnesium sparks to create an ember which he nurtured into a full blaze of glory. Kept those pesky skeeters at bay as well.
At 5:00, we were on the water, paddling across the lake to the “bald eagle” tree…one of the landmarks to tell us where our campsite was. Sure enough, the eagle was there in his tree, altho he left shortly after we arrived. I felt badly about that. He looked so noble, proud and settled in. We were merely interlopers.
As the afternoon had progressed, there was high cloud cover along with the blue skies. Fortunately, said cloud cover was thin enough that we could see the eclipse through it.
We tied ourselves to a branch and kicked back to watch with our special glasses. Good thing we had them. Otherwise the cornea around the sun was so bright that I couldn’t tell anything was happening even though the change in light indicated that something was up. I took some pictures with my iPad and camera to see if I could capture anything. I could not. Hindsight, a lovely thing, told me that perhaps placing my special glasses over the camera lens could have done the trick. We’ll never know, will we? Never again in my lifetime, anyway. Perhaps I shall bequeath the special glasses to my son and he can try it.
With the glasses, we got quite a show, and it was quite an experience. The passage of moon took about 3 hours. The eclipse part lasted 5 minutes. During the three hours, we paddled around and about, enjoying the calm and the light, tying our craft to various bits of vegetation.
The light was amazing. It wasn’t early morning or late evening light. It was more reminiscent of far northern where-the-sun-never-sets-in-summer light. There is a Scandinavian painter, Anders Zorn, a contemporary of and often compared to American painterJohn Singer Sargent. His paintings capture the same beautiful light that Al and I experienced throughout the duration of the eclipse.
I would not have wanted to be anyplace else.
That night, the stars weren’t as bright as weather was moving in. It was much warmer as well.
The hooting owl finally had an answer to its call. I loved drifting off to sleep hearing the owl hoot and then finally receiving its response from across the way. For me, it was perfect closure.