The Long Tail of Summer


The river, at the far end of Summer is very different from the one I knew in the Spring.

The perfume of hemlock, evergreen, and the occasional dead fish hang heavy in the warm, moist air. Spring is, quite bluntly, the season of drying stinky mud.

My favorite Summer bird reaches the apex of it’s activity in the late months of the season. The Belted Kingfisher is a slate gray-blue, with the belt actually a dog collar of the purest white. Kingfishers are very territorial. Each has a well defined territory on the river. When you enter, the cry goes up, and the kingfisher moves a bit up or down as the case may be. Once they reach the end of their domain, they fly well around to go back to the other end. Their cry is much like the sound that a playing card makes, on the spokes of a bike.

They have an innate ability to appear fully annoyed. At all times.

Even the people fishing the river change with the seasons, with some of the guys saying that until the first frost, the fishing is bad. But, they’re out there regardless.

Am I bored, paddling the same couple miles of river, day in and out? Never. It’s never the same water, the same cry of the birds, the identical odors. It’s re-creation. At it’s best.

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