It’s a quiet morning at the river. High overhead, a flock of birds flies by. The caw of crows drifts in from far off in the distance, and from a bit closer, I hear the faint rise and fall of a bird song I can’t identify.
Most mornings, the river ice groans and creaks with the tidal flow. There are intermittent cascades of tinkling shards as it shifts, breaks, and falls. Occasionally, it emits a loud startling boom. Today all is quiet. Perhaps it’s slack tide.
I wander along the edges of the waterfront park, watching the subtle changes in light on the horizon. There’s no real path for me to follow, just the contours where the land meets the river.
I know to look down river to the tall pine, a favorite perch for local bald eagles. This morning two of them are there, silhouetted against the lightening sky. Another one flies in, then disappears into the nearby trees. I watch them for a long while. Sometimes they fly off as dawn breaks. Today, they seem content to remain where they are.
Turning, I scan the point at the turn in the river. Earlier this winter I saw a fox there. I listened to its piercing cry. Today, it doesn’t appear. I look back along the banks where at other times I’ve seen beaver and mink. A lone squirrel scampers along for a bit, then darts up a tree and out of sight. Nothing else stirs.
As I do most days, eventually I walk through the parking lot, onto the road, and then out onto the bridge. Beneath me, in the limited open water, the common mergansers swim, their colors muted in the low light. Some days they power through the water, diving over and over, amusing me with their energetic fishing. Today, they placidly glide through the icy water.
I take only a few pictures. Walk a little bit more. Look. Listen.
Everything feels slower down at the river today. There’s a peace and an intimacy to the hush.
as dawn tiptoes in
the river welcomes me