Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The End of the Known World

This is the end of the known world:

I bet some of you expected something a little more spectacular. Probably the same group that doesn’t see any more than a wardrobe,

without understanding what might be on the other side.

Well, I can’t tell you what’s on the other side of that log, because I’ve never been there. I won’t tell you exactly where that picture was taken either, although I will give you a few clues.

It’s only about half an hour paddle for me. You go up a winding side creek, under tree branches and through, usually, spider webs. Not much distinguishes this particular creek from the other small streams of water that wind back away from White Rock Lake and White Rock Creek, but most of them don’t let you go more than a few dozen feet before your way is blocked—not far enough to get out of sight and sound from the main channel, while this particular creek continues for a quarter mile or so before reaching the log across the stream that blocks your way.

Of course water is always moving and rivers always changing, so once in awhile you find that a creek you’ve looked at before is now open for a longer distance. I suppose, some day, the log will rot away and I’ll be able to paddle on in to a new world.

I could clamber up on the log and pull the canoe over. My chances of falling in the water would be about even odds. Alternatively, I could carry the canoe around the log. I don’t feel a need or reason to go further. I can see one water course bending to the left and one to the right before going out of sight. It’s likely that neither fork goes much further, but who knows? I am happy to leave the world beyond unexplored.

The water in front of the log is a good place to pause before turning around to head home. The distance makes for about an hour’s paddle that’s just enough for a nice weekday evening.

I have never seen another person up this side branch, although once I talked to a person who had been there. But for two years Wood Ducks nested just beyond the log and I could watch the ducks and ducklings when I stopped to turn around.

Nasturtiums growing ferally bloom there in the spring.

Once I say a raccoon crossing the log

and another time I saw an American Bittern standing among the reeds.
That’s the one and only time I’ve seen an American Bittern. They are common, but camouflaged so well that most of the time you don’t notice them.

Even when I don’t see anything unusual, there will be herons—great white, great blue and green, kingfishers, dragonflies and the sun setting behind Downtown Dallas as I paddle home.

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