MY FIRST TIME ON THE WATER this year came late. Building we did to improve our access to the lake finished late and clean up work for me to get the new deck and dock ready took the late weekends in May after our return from Utah.
Every year the lake - in the mountains of North Georgia - becomes a little less remote and a little more populated with people. The last couple of years have seen a small wilderness area on the lake thinned and readied for single home construction. More boats and more docks will fill our cove off the main channel in the next several years.
When we first bought the cabin on the water, we thought the lake and boating would be the big attraction but we have come to appreciate the quietness, the lightness of the air, the dark nights and the native wildlife more than the water over time. So with increasing development, my expectations were diminished for this first trip out in my kayak.
My practice is to go out early in the morning, taking different routes on different days. I don't fish our hunt, except with my eyes and sometimes a camera. I look for sunrises, the lifting of the fog off the water, fish surfacing and wildlife in general.
Over the last decade I have seen bass and trout surface, great blue herons and their smaller green cousins flying, perching and fishing the waters edge. Kingfishers are active and noisy when you approach and disrupt their attention. Pileated woodpeckers,, flocks of wild turkey and the bald eagle are among my favorite sightings, not to mention the single siting of a bear swimming across a channel.
This morning brought its own surprises. I got a bit of a late start and so missed the the lifting fog and expected little more than some exercise. It did not take long to shatter low expectations.
Within minutes a green heron flew by low to the water. Hard to spot, this seemed like a good omen. Then two great blue herons flew high over head in my general direction and the edge of the nearby woods cackled to life. They landed high in the top of a tree near water's edge. In full few view, the two fed several noisy and active youngsters for several minutes before the male took off again. I made a mental mark of my location to return the next morning and headed further out into the lake.
After a while I spotted a pair of kingfishers in a cove. Then there was another and another. Before long I could count five and expected six to be in the group. Rather than fly off down the shore as they usually do, this group stayed in the cove and took turns circling me. I was near a nest but could not see it. I moved on to give them peace while watching an early morning water skier in the distance on the channel.
By now I had been on the water for over an hour and headed back to the cabin, taking a route back by the herons' nest. Still there, I could hear the young sound their parents approach and watched them feed again. Then low to the water a long bird with white under her wings flew by and landed on a dead tree on a small nearby island. Jumping up the tree and to the left, she quickly revealed the unmistakable red tuft and long beak of the pileated woodpecker.
My morning was complete. I hope your week goes well and that any low expectations you might have are shattered as mine were.
The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
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Clinton Richardson, has been writing and photographing for decades. His acclaimed venture strategy series is now in its 5th edition. His Ancient Selfies is an International Book Awards Finalist and an eLit Award Gold Medal Winner. Many of his images can be seen online at TrekPic.com.