Sunday, July 13, 2008
Vacations and Parenthood
Bass Creek empties into Lake Manitou at the fishing camp on Manitoulin Island. Fishing boats are tied up at night along the wooden docks at the mouth of the creek and muskrats swim silently through the dark water. Water levels are high this year and the shoreline was plowed back by thick ice this past winter. The usual rocky shoals where ducks could perch and feed from away from the shore are under water, marked only by bobbing orange buoys.
In the mornings I watched a female Common Merganser bring her large brood to the creek to feed on minnows. The little ones practiced their diving skills and would pop up and down around their mother. Occasionally, groups of them would become separated from her and would scurry across the surface, their webbed feet looking as if they were walking on water as they shot quickly by to catch up with the others.
The little orange-headed balls of down and feathers were amusing to watch in the silent early morning hours. The camp slowly awakened and fishermen gathered their gear and headed toward the boats. As the motors hummed to life, the family of Mergansers moved on to the next feeding spot. Those closest to Mom hopped on her back for a free ride.
Unscheduled vacation days are a luxury, even at a backwoods fishing camp. Sitting outdoors and drinking hot tea as the chill of night lifts from the water is not part of my normal daily routine. There was no vacation for the female Merganser as she cared for her large family singlehandedly. My vacation is over too but the peaceful images of the week remain in my mind.
And I can return there in my imagination at will...
This post is dedicated to parents everywhere! My niece, Jaspenelle is into her second month of motherhood, and my niece Damara gave birth to a little girl this past week. I am now a great-aunt three times over. I skimmed over a great number of blog posts today from my blogroll and had to laugh at the synopsis of a scientific study on motherhood posted by Femail Doc, Dr. Judy Paley.