Our conversation turned to the perfect day: sunny, balmy, no wind, no bugs.
"It feels like the time for hunting and gathering," the man said. "There's change in the air."
And I knew that to be true, even though I'd been trying not to know. I had been sensing the smallest shift in the color of light, feeling the first inner stirrings of restlessness, seeing the first yellowing of big leaf maple.
Despite the fact that we've hardly had summer, autumn's breath is making itself known.
This is the flat time, neither fully one season nor the other. Summer not quite over, autumn not quite here. Still more summer than not, but past the time where it feels like summer might last forever.
I'm finding feathers everywhere these days, in unusual abundance it seems to me. Owl. Eagle. Jay. An egret feather floating next to us toward the end of the canoe trip that felt like an omen and a gift. As though the birds preparing for migration are sending me invitations to join them.
In the hours we spent paddling the flat water of the marshy refuge, we saw hundreds of dragonflies. At least four different varieties. I considered the contrast between that abundance and the huge numbers of turkey vultures we'd seen as we drove south from home the day before. Both are beings that have always touched me at that intersection of spirit and heart. The vultures whose job it is to clean away that which has died. The dragonflies who symbolize change and spiritual renewal.
A lone bald eagle soared overhead, close enough that his white head and tail, deep brown body, and golden beak were sharply defined against the Crater Lake blue of the sky. Just in case, apparently, I needed the reminder that our day on the water was both love letter and extended hand from the Divine.
A love letter that included a pair of otters playing on the bank, two deer swimming not far ahead of us, shy egrets peering at us through the reeds. A gentle hand that held us for miles of perfect stillness in amiable companionship with each other, ourselves and the world around us.
Change is in the air. It comes in its own time, at its own pace. But it comes. Full of promise, hope, and songs of waiting adventures.
Photos by Walt