Wednesday, April 17, 2013

October 19, Part 1: Drinking and shooting #1

I floated lazily past a site covered in beer cans, deep in remorse over the loss of my wheels.  Around the bend I realized that although I had little choice but to go on, I could atone for the environmental impact by cleaning up garbage on the way.  It was already too late for the beer cans I had seen, but not too much further I saw a can of Mountain Dew in the river, so I scooped it up with my paddle and dumped it in the canoe.

Further on I heard motors, and thought there must be 4-wheelers in the woods nearby.  Nope.  Three camouflaged boats were stopped, pulled up in the grasses as their motors scared the birds away and a man threw beer cans in the grass while two boys, bones lost in flesh, looked on.

"Hey!" I shouted, and the man, face all pinched in under the bill of his cap muttered something in a manly mumble.  He had already undone my good deed for the day, but I didn't have much hope of changing the mind of a man who'd been drinking and hunting and paddled on.

A small flock of Tundra Swan, five, were in the air, and other birds were in the water.  It was strange, it had been awhile since I'd seen any Canada geese, but there was a lonely one sitting there in the water, right by a mallard drake in breeding plumage, and a female as well, and more birds all around me.  There was something very odd about these birds.  They were grouped oddly.  And they weren't moving.  I was surrounded by a flock of 20 waterfowl, placed randomly by someone with an eye for variety but not the natural behavior of birds.  I escaped before I was mistaken for a live one -- an all too likely possibility, given the hunters I'd seen along the river so far.

I picked more cans out of the water until I made up for the drunk hunter's waste, though not yet mine.  When I got to the camp site there was a bird there -- it didn't move, although it was real; it was dead and its retinas were peeling from its bloody face.  I scooped it up with my paddle and dumped it in the water.

Day 120 continues.

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