the Ss Minnow

I think that was the name of the ship on Gilligans Island? The crew and guests left for a three hour tour and didn’t return for the duration of the series? I feel like that when I step into the tree lined path of the bird sanctuary. It is a four km winding trail that offers small viewing platforms, two active beaver damn, a host of birds, a surprising amount of flora and a fair bit of quiet if you don’t count the rumbling pass of the train!

I told my general practitioner I walked the trail frequently. He was briefly impressed, what is your time?  I was confused for a moment, oh, quick calculations, between three and four hours depending on other commitments.

He seemed decidedly less impressed.

The truth is, in the long ago I did walk this path with headphones and speed in mind. One breathless day I recall six heron rising up and slowly flying parallel with the trial, it was glorious. I took small notice. Another day my battery died in my walkman (does that date things!) and to my surprise instead of utter boredom the sounds of the wetlands filled the quiet and were soothing and rhythmic.

Then one fateful day I brought my camera and that was the shift. The pausing to see, trying to follow sound and see which bird sang which sweet song, moving myself to a better position for the light, and of course, waiting. The hour fifteen turned into the afternoon and that was the last time I walked for fitness at the sanctuary.

I occasionally take my pocket watercolors. I always take my camera, sometimes a small notebook for writing, if my pack has room a thermos is nice.

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My feather collection has been enriched from the finds on the path. I think my fitness level has increased, not the one measured by muscle or tone but the one that knows how to be still and present.

Pastel artist, Cindy Whitehead has captured some beautiful moments in the sanctuary (you can see her work at http://www.cindywhiteheadstudio.com/) . Gaye Adams led a group of painters for plein air, I have yet to manage more than tiny studies to date, perhaps this summer.

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Meanwhile, as I walk the path and joggers pass or mountain bike people push by I wonder if they take a moment to see where they travel. I hope so, it is a most amazing gift to all who enter, what ever the purpose. For me, the wave of wonder that sails my minnow has learned sometimes you have to get a little lost in order to be found.

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