Helping several ten to twelve year olds enter the water at Snake Rock without tipping their kayaks over, I notice the rock next the where I am squatting and holding a boat steady. There is a thick layer of large crystals, yellowish white in color and cleaving along flat planes, crumbling into the sand and plant growth next to the water. I realize this must be a calcite deposit. I know there is one across the river just down stream of here that I have not yet been to, but have been told about. I friend of mine showed my several quarter sized crystals she found there and they look just like the crystals by my feet. I exclaim in excitement and bring everyone’s attention to them, explaining what they are. Some kids thinks its very cool and collect some, others not so much… Each to their own interests! I love rocks. My yard has rocks in it form everywhere we go. I decorate the garden walls with rocks of all shapes, sizes, colors, dimensions, and characteristics. I know then names of some of them, but not others. Oddly enough, rock identification was not an aspect of geology class that interested much, although I find plate tectonic, earthquakes, and volcanism fascinating. I do not need to know a rocks name in order for it to speak to me, catch my eye, and sweet talk me into carrying it with me for the rest of the hike or paddle I am doing at the time. So now I have several nifty Adirondack calcite crystals hanging out in my herb garden.
Bright sunlight, fluffy bright white clouds in a bright baby blue sky, breezy, but not windy, perfect paddling temperature, we have stopped along the river for a picnic lunch, a group of high school senior girl scouts canoeing and kayaking a different section of the Hudson that yesterday’s trip through the gorge. They are loving every minute of it, laughing, talking, playing, enjoying their trip to New York state from sunny, hot southern Florida. As part of today’s lunch, we have watermelon I bought this morning on a food run. I cut through the variegated green skin, slice through the dark red fruit, juice runs over the table. With a crisp snap a piece breaks free. After all the girls have had their fill I take my first slice of watermelon of the season. The cool, sweet, watermelon flavor exploded in my mouth with the first bight. Sugary red juice runs down my chin as I noisily slurp it up. I greedily eat, crunching, slurping, and savoring. This is what summer tastes like!
This morning, I got up early with the sun, went over to a nearby state park and put my kayak in the water. Warm yellow sunlight pouring in from the eastern horizon, flowing out overt the lake like liquid happiness. I paddled quietly around the shoreline to see what I could see in the quiet morning stillness. Large catfish with swishing tails, rooting through dead tree branches in the shallows, large algae covered turtles swimming lazily near the surface, birds flitting between trees twittering morning greetings to each other, green and red lily pads and bright happy water lilies, the smell of campfire smoke drifting on unseen air currents from early risers in the camp ground, and then a family of mallard ducks. Mamma duck proud and watchful paddling slowly along the shore with seven little fluffy yellowish brown baby ducks paddling their tiny webbed feet furiously to keep up. I kept a respectful distance so as not to frighten the little family, but watched them paddle and feed for quite q while. Mamma kept her eye on the the whole time, but didn’t try to chase my off. Baby ducklings peeping for attention and mamma duck keeping them moving down the lake shore, learning how to be good little ducks.
Rainy wet day in the Adirondacks, we are herding 60 some odd high school senior girls from New York City down a slow moving section of the Hudson River. They are having a lifetime adventure and loving every minute of it! I am the sweep boat, making sure everyone is accounted for and goes where they are supposed to go. My long green kayak is sitting on a rock bar that juts way out on the inside of a meandering curve in the river. I had to run across the bar to the other side of an island to help a couple of canoes get unstuck and back on course. Walking back to my own boat on the ankle to knee deep rushing water I start noticing the cobbles I am traversing. Wow! So many colors, shapes, sizes, and crystalline structures! I start picking some up for a better look, and get totally absorbed in the amazing variety of rocks surrounding me. A few minutes later, back at my boat, I drop several large heavy specimens into a cargo compartment and hope they don’t shift while I’m paddling. Grey and white marble with green streaks corners smoothed round, egg shaped granite with sparkling mica, quartz with large sharp crystals. I send encouraging words to the girls floating by as I climb back in my boat to help to next girls stuck on the cool rocks!