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Allison Goldstein

     It's morning - around six, a light mist on the lake. I paddle past a cluster of cows, udder deep in the cool water, a scene from a Constable painting.

     Following the shoreline, I enter the channel between Crosby Lake and Little Crosby Lake, near Ontario's Rideau Waterway . It cuts through a marsh of alders and stripped dead trees.

     This is a gorgeous place, full of mystery. There are watchers: turtles, great blue herons... hunters: hawks, and osprey. Sticks, piled close to the shore, are evidence of beaver. Small chattering birds, like jungle monkeys, spread the news of my presence.

     Rays of a hot sun rising are trapped in the denser mist here. The diffused light dazzles and disorients me.

     A shadow moves in, low and fast above my head ... hard, beating wings. A screech rips the silence ... stops my heart!

     I recover slightly, and breathe to the rhythm of the paddle.


     The sound of a boulder dropped from a great height ... or, the footfall of an extremely large animal?

     A shape, like a neck straining forward, emerges from the mist, dissolves. Something brushes my cheek. What is this?? Pterodactyl, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex?

     Paddling hard, I break out of the mist, out of the channel and into Little Crosby Lake. Time to pull up the canoe, and reflect on my very Jurassic experience.

     Skies clear, time presses, and I must return through the channel to my cottage, and breakfast.

     The narrow waterway is now serene. A dead cedar leans out over the water. A pair of beaver are busy with their "starter home". My approach is acknowledged with alarm, and they slap the water with their tails ... like the sound of a boulder dropped from a great height.

     A large osprey passes low overhead. Two young birds follow mother, and squeal with delight ... the freedom of flight.

     It's seems my "Jurassic Park" consisted of three osprey, two beaver, and one dead cedar.

     Perhaps, in future, I'll do my paddling after breakfast, when the sun is well up, to burn off the morning mist.

Photo by Mike Goldstein

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