Hollis: Heron on the Raquette River, Potsdam, NY

Great Blue Heron on the Raquette River (click for larger view)

Great Blue Heron on the Raquette River (click for larger view)

Whenever I go outside, it seems like I find something beautiful, if I can only remember to look.

This past Saturday, I tried my hand at something new: kayaking in a group. I used to be pretty handy with a canoe, but it’s been a while. I’ve been borrowing my dad’s kayak periodically, getting out on the river near my home.

On Saturday, I helped lead a trip for beginning kayakers. I’m the Outings Chair for the Adirondack Mountain Club‘s Laurentian Chapter, so I try to do a bunch of trips that way.

We put in at the gazebo in Ives Park, a neighborhood rehabilitation project that covers the ground where Water Street once stood: a domain of seedy bars where students didn’t feel safe to walk at night. Now it’s wide open, with plenty of trees shading the paths made of Potsdam’s famous pink sandstone. We paddled up-river, past islands in the stream, past old quarries long-silent, past Bayside Cemetery, past the remnants of many lives.

We passed this heron resting on an old stone piling that’s barely visible above the waves. Locals build up the pilings each year, constructing Adirondack-style inukshuks that mark the passage of time before falling again into the river.

Maybe it’s thinking about the economy that does this to me, but the heron seems like more than just a bird. I think of him (or her) as a reminder that, though change will always come, life will continue. I wonder whether the loggers who built those stone pilings, who guided felled trees down-stream in peril of their lives, ever knew that they’d one day help a bird to find his dinner.

And so it goes.

— Hollis

Image link: http://4alloutdoors.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/rrGreatBlueHeron.jpg

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