Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Funny stories from paddleboarding the Mississippi

If enough time is spent doing something, one is bound to experience the tails from the bell curve of 'normal.'  These experiences break the comfort found in expectation and take us to someplace new.  I find these can be either terrifying or hilarious, maybe both, at different times, depending on the subject.

Earlier this month, a tour stopped at Blue Heron Bay, the island/rookery which is home to around 10 different heron families.  We found 2 dead heron, both laying on the beach, where we landed.  Both were fairly large, one laid peacefully (cause of death unknown), and the other lay painfilled, awkwardly, on it's side.  These birds spread an impressive 5 foot wingspan, and are amazingly thin.  This was all too evident when we found this bird, head twisted back, mouth open, large fish wedged half-way down it's throat.  It was obvious this bird bit off more than it could chew/swallow.  Some kind of sadness, dark humor came over me, which then turned into chaotic surprise as one in our group screamed that she had just been struck in the head with multiple fish!  The herons above us were throwing fish onto us.  Were we desecrating their burial grounds?  I felt urged to give them a proper water burial, so the critters wouldn't do what is natural in front of the families.  After I pushed off, I couldn't help wonder if nature was telling us something.  This wasn't the first time, either...


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