My “Jaws” Moment

Thanks to the Suzuki Foundation for reinforcing my dedication to being outdoors. I spent my birthday trying to shift the stats from the well-accepted “we spend 90% of our time indoors” by enjoying en plein aire experiences all day. I started with a breakfast outdoors at a local diner – they hadn’t even cleaned off their outdoor tables yet they accommodated me willingly. Then they even brought out a piece of carrot cake (breakfast dessert – it was my birthday!) with a candle in it and a song for me. So sweet. The Alexis Diner in North Greenbush certainly has the best carrot cake in the Albany area.

What's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

After breakfast I headed to Grafton Lake and walked the 2.5 mile loop around Long Lake. A bit rocky but a really nice little hike.  Bright skies, solitude. But I felt so much frustration in seeing Pepsi and beer cans, water bottles and bagged dog poop (really!?). For those who need the education, bagging the doggie poop and leaving it on the trail is NOT COOL. Either kick it into the woods or bag it and take it out with you, please. Respect.

I hauled my yak over to the Dunham Reservoir where I knew I’d have absolute peace on this bright amazing day. I paddled for about 2-hours, enjoying darting swallows, pollen-laden bees and a few scared beavers slapping their tails in chagrin. I also had a JAWS moment. A floating green bobber was out a ways in the lake, so I went to fetch it (I tend to clean up a bit when I am out). As I approached, it…slowly…went under. Huh? Where did it go? A few minutes later it popped up about 40 feet away. I again approached and…it…disappeared. Another few tries and then it NEVER came up. I still don’t know if it was a fish or a turtle…but whatever it was hopelessly tangled and dealing with a bobber pulling it up over and over. So sad. 

I headed home. Let’s not talk about my need to practice putting my yak up on the car by myself – embarrassing spectacle, that. And that evening I enjoyed a book on the porch, then dinner out at the Barge in Albany on the Hudson River with my husband and son.  Good, healthy food in sunshine and breezes. All is good.

 As I reflect on my day, I find frustration at how much waste and destruction I saw. Clear moments of disrespect and arrogance. I’m hoping I can continue to enjoy nature despite the anger that flares in me when I see the contempt and abuse represented by garbage and graffiti, broken tress and charred fire pits in “no campfire” areas. I hope I will always pick up what I can and haul it home. I will add a knife to my yak kit, and hope that I never see another fish or turtle in distress, but if I do I will try very hard to reach it, and help it.

Happy birthday to me, and thanks for another good year, Mother Earth. 


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