Complete cessation of wind. No hissing or popping, the fire has died to ashes. Water so calm its not lapping against the shore. I think everything outdoors is tired and I know I am. All of this northern most Minnesota nature is shutting down.
It’s been a day. We paddled hard against gusting wind. The white caps no matter how well you pack demand you pay attention with each stroke. Hanging the blade in the water is drag and digging deep means you can move forward.
The brilliant fall sun was magnificent. My face, the skin, its dry. Definitely wind burned with the mid thirty degree temps. Birch crowns etched in black, denuded of leaves rise up from pine trees angling down. Long gone the robust colors of fall. I saw it today, all day; I can still see the lack of it tonight.
No crows meandering, the seagulls, no where to be seen. Loon’s melodic calls were not heard last night. The small abundant juncos so many days ago flitting have been replaced by snow buntings not purely white yet. My nose ran all day, my eyes watered constantly and as a group we don’t care because are shirt sleeves work just fine.
It’s a landscape we call the grandscape. It’s pretty much been reduced to rocks, water and very cool air. One tree, then another lone birch tattered of its bark, single trees, and a lone stand of balsam. The cleanest cedars of the year. Moose are up in the timber. Ducks blew out south weeks ago. The v’d geese wedges and neck craning wild goose calls, just memories and echo’s.
All summer we jumped out of the canoes sloshing in the warmest water to tackle a portage trail. Heavy boots with cold leaden legs mean Slow; purposeful steps replacing recklessness of abandoning layered warmth. Wool pants, wool hats, wool shirts while out of fashion, fit and feel good. They may change the gear were supposed to wear but we don’t buy or fit into it.
Wool pockets hold all kinds of stuff soundlessly. We all look good. It’s the only time of year we don’t look like ragged people dirty from sweat. Perspiration stains don’t happen in early November. Collars stay up and hats get cramped down tight. Red cheeks, broken by red noses glowed by noon.
The wind ripped clouds across the sky all day when I dared to look up. Lancing shadows swept across the water. That same wind said if we want out and off the water we would burn to earn it. My shoulders were hot. Dinner plates steamed tonight and were licked clean. Walleyes were an experience in taste and nobody had a problem taking the last piece of fish.
We didn’t see anyone coming in on our way out. Its neat thinking we may be the ones who close the boreal door on this set of lakes for the season. No breakfast tomorrow, just coffee and paddle. Warm lung air makes everybody’s mouth smoke when they talk; but there isn’t much chatter.
We settled are final camp tonight. We quit for the day, and amen, the wind quit for the night. The stars are dripping silent silver just a finger tip away. It’s all so peaceful now. I feel bad about wasting one second of it and falling asleep.
The trout whisperer