Last night, five us us went full moon kayaking in Saxapahaw.
It’s the third time I’ve done it; it’s interesting how different it’s been every time. It’s a seasonal thing, I suppose. The first time was in kind of a dramatic storm, and the second time was during a supermoon. Last night happened to be a blue moon. It was quiet out on the river, a bit subdued.
Last night, the 7 pm put-in was past the golden hour. The sun was already well on its way to being set when we hit the water. There was a swarm, an absolute panoply, of stoneflies. Apparently it’s mating season. They spend most of their lives on the riverbed, and all at once they emerge on a wild and frantic night and go to town.
It was a mayfly that attached itself to my kayak, though. It was really pretty:
Mayflies, like stoneflies, are harbingers of pure water. They can’t tolerate pollution. If you see them, it’s a healthy sign. This one wouldn’t shoo. It stuck tight. So we were a team. My mayfly and I headed west at nightfall.
There was plenty of wildlife. We saw snowy egrets, and great blue herons. Can you see this one? It was getting dark by the time I drifted by him.
We didn’t see any beavers, but we sure heard them. We all gathered at the far side of a little river island to let everyone catch up before we turned around. We drifted for about ten minutes, pretty much in silence, and watched the moonlight on the water.
That’s when the beavers got loud, with all the tail-thunking on the shoreline. It’s kind of cartoony and hilarious. Other than that, there were some chirping things, and croaking things, but the loud summer racket we heard last time was gone. The cicadas were silent. I’ve been hearing them now and then in the late afternoon, but I think they’ve stopped their nighttime droning, and pretty soon they’ll be gone for the year. It’s the only thing about this summer that I’ll miss. But I will miss them. Before the sun set all the way, we saw a flock of something or other flying south in a V. That time of year. The calendar doesn’t quite say autumn, yet, but it’s on the way
None of us talked much on the river; no need to, plenty of time for that in the car, and at the Eddy afterward. We just paddled, and listened, and paddled. It’s a beautiful thing. I might go once more, before it gets too cold out there on the Haw. River, moonlight, mayflies, birds in flight. And beavers. Lovely.
I leave you with this.