Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Murky Refuge

It was a really hard week, and tougher day. I couldn’t wait to get under water, to become enveloped by the silence and the white noise rush of water over rock. To only exist in the moment the way river snorkeling always brings me to the here and now. A small but intense thunderstorm traversed the upper parts of Deer Creeks watershed last night, and while the surface of the creek barely rose, the water became murky with soil in water runoff. I couldn’t see much but that didn’t matter. I skulked upstream, clambered over rocks, held on and dug in. I used eddies to work my way up river.
The creek slackens here into a deep pool and I explored the margins. Fry squiggled through the slower moving water. An eel, I think, darted along the bottom when my shadow passed over. A bass shot from under a rock. The bright day made seeing what lie in the shadow of rock impossible until my head was well shrouded in the dark, which was a little disconcerting. The unknown, even in a known river, is a little unsettling, and I fully expected to see a foot long hellbender lunge out from the dusk.
While there wasn’t much to clearly see in the way of fish, the up close macro world was plainly in view, and just as fascinating. Snails rasped trails through the algae that covered rocks. Hydropsche caddis nets captured more than their share of fine sediments. The world around me was silent, except for the gurgle of water flowing past my ears, and the occasional clicking that I suspect is produced by stonerollers as they snap algae off boulders. I watched the water sheet over rocks, and the problems of the day washed away with each eddy that swirled past. There is something rejuvenating about being encapsulated in water, even when it’s cloudy.

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