Monday, September 8, 2008

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Here’s an obvious fact. The wildlife received at Liberty is all compromised in some way and that is a very sad thing to see. That being said makes the rest of my blog mean more, I hope.

This past weekend a group of staff and volunteers of Liberty Wildlife went on a big adventure. With the help of a star volunteer, Claudia Kirschner, and her friend Captain Ted, we set off at 5:45 a.m. to Kayak the Salt River.

Logistics out of the way—boats, oars, and life vests assigned and basic kayaking instructions meted out—we hit the water paddling. Instructions were simple—stay connected with the group, go with the flow, paddle hard in the rapids, and when it is necessary, pull over to a quiet area and “eddy out”.

Our morning was perfect, temperature mild, cloud cover in place, swift and high water. The river, a ribbon of life in the desert, is a magnet for wildlife. If you have never known a desert river, do yourself a favor. Meet one.

It is very quiet at that time of the day in the solitude of the river. Around a bend we were uncaringly noticed by a herd of wild horses standing in the water, reflections intact. The next stretch of water served us up great blue herons galore, turkey vultures roosting in snags, and a plethora of passerines and flycatchers. Into the canyon area we were delighted by bald eagles, ospreys, a peregrine falcon, barn owl nesting sites, a curtain-like seepage of bees wax from one of the bee hives. Mallard ducks and cormorants flushed from the reeds and wading birds on the shoreline expressed their need for solitude by taking off overhead. A roadrunner darted into cover at the sight of us. And, we could only guess at what stayed hidden waiting for us to pass.

Did I mention to you the scent of a wild river? It is too complex to be bottled, but someone should try.

Now the more subtle aspect of the trip is a metaphor for a life—yours or mine. It is simple—learn your basics, stay connected, go with the flow, paddle hard through the rough spots, and eddy out when you need to. Nature can provide a perfect eddy out spot. Get outside and reintroduce yourself to nature. See wildlife in its splendor; see wildlife uncompromised. It can enrich your being.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

megan, thank you for the lovely essay on kayaking the river. felt like i was right there with you (and it made me homesick). as you say, a wonderful metaphor for life. congratulations on all you are doing!