Becky and I were in Townsend this weekend, visiting her folks. It was a very nice and relaxing weekend. Monday, Labor Day, we were at the annual cookout at the Lees’ house in Townsend. It was great to see all of the folks from the town, and there was lots of good food to eat.
For pictures of the whole weekend, visit the Labor Day ’03|http://gallery.prwdot.org/labor_day_03 gallery.
As for the rest of the weekend, we went canoeing TWICE! Once on Saturday, down and up the Concord River from the South Bridge to the North Bridge and back, and once on Sunday, up and then down the Squanicook River in Townsend. I don’t go canoeing a lot, and in fact I think the last time I was on a canoe ride of any sort was a couple summers ago… but it was very nice. There is something very relaxing about floating down a calm river with nothing to do but paddle. You can take your time, or you can go quickly. You can stop completely to look at something in or near the river.
On Saturday, Ken and Dianne were in another canoe accompanying us, and there were lots of other people out on the river, taking advantage of the nice day. It’s quite refreshing to paddle down a river and greet other boaters with a smile and a wave, remebering that you have probably passed those same people on Route 128 at 80 miles an hour and most likely muttered some choice words as they cut you off. None of that on the river. 🙂 It was also cool to see the backsides of all of these fabulously large houses in Concord, and to actually ride underneath the Old North Bridge|http://www.concordma.com/history.html.
On Sunday, Becky and I went by ourselves, and there was no one at all on the river. I was very grateful to be able to spend that time with Becky, relaxing, talking, and enjoying the peace of the outdoors. Now historically, I’ve not been one to spend much time taking in the outdoors. But these excursions may be encouraging me to rethink my position. I’m sure many of you are chuckling, as you have long realized the benefits of spending time in nature, and are amazing that I’m just coming to this realization. But please, give me a break. I’m new to this.
In any case, our trip down the Squanicook gave me much time to reflect on life and nature. I spend so much time online reading the observations that other people have made, whether it’s on a message board, a documentation website, a news site, or otherwise – other people are out there, experiencing things firsthand, and I’m reading about them. It is truly wonderful to be able to develop your own observations and opinions of the world, rather than to read, absorb, and assimilate those of others. So, I’ve come up with a few of my own observations. Forgive me if they sound trite, but I haven’t had much time to flesh them out fully: (Incidentally, this should also give me the chance to show off the new ‘quote-box’ feature I wrote into our site, that allows quoted text or code to be offset from the rest of the blog text for better readability)
qqq|When a river is shallow, you can more easily spot obstacles ahead. You may alter your course to pass around these obstacles. If you happen to run into an unforeseen obstacle, it will take some work to surmount it, but ultimately, you will be better off. You will know that the next time you travel this river, those obstacles can be avoided, and a better route can be plotted in advance.
A river that is deep may flow more quickly, and cover up obstacles. However, in the quickness of the flow, you may miss some subtle details of the scenery that surrounds you. An ancient inscription, a field of butterflies, or a sunbathing turtle. As for the obstacles – while covered by the deep water, they are nonetheless present, and they may subtly affect the flow of the river. If that water is deep and dark enough, it may cover the enormous felled tree that could stop you in your path.
It is possible for a person to canoe on his own. Two people, however, improve the situation immensely. The task of canoeing can be divided up between the two – one in back to steer, the other in front to paddle. In addition, the front-most person may be afforded a superior view of the river, and be able to spot obstacles at a great distance off. These obstacles can then be reported to the person who is steering, so that the course may be altered before the obstacle truly becomes an obstacle. Of course, when splitting the labor in this manner, it is important for the two to stick to their positions – it will do no good if the paddler tries to do the steering while the steerer is trying to steer in the opposite direction.|qqq
I hope you all enjoyed my newbie “naturalist” observations. Really, I’m anything but a naturalist, but I think that some of Becky’s tendencies are really rubbing off on me… after all of the things she’s picked up from me, it’s time I started picking up some of the best from her.
Now it’s time to prepare for another, albeit shorter, week at work. Becky, in the meantime, will be working full-time on her job search, so please wish her good luck, and let her know if you have any leads on museum education jobs in the Boston area. 🙂