I went canoeing down the Santa Fe River yesterday. There was a 60% chance of rain. I am glad I put on sunscreen, because not one single drop fell. It was beautiful. There were turtles galore sunning themselves on logs. They clustered under the clumps of water weeds, their black thumb-sized heads poking out of the water. If I were in the hankering for some Cooter Stew, I’d have been in heaven. I also saw a small alligator, about 3 feet long, it’s tiretread back and snout just above the surface of the water. And one of the private homes along the river has a heard of goats. It is a bit surreal to paddle around a bend in the river and see a half dozen goats down at the water line, chewing on river grass. Unexpected and incongruous to say the least. There was a pair of snowy egrets fishing along the bank. The cypress trees have just started to turn, their needle foliage shifting to the lighter, chartreuse green of fall. I learned a new term. The bottom of a tree, the trunk that sits on the ground is called the “butt” of the tree. The roots of the tree are the “feet”. Cypress trees sit their wide, ruffled butts on the bank….or simple in the water…..and dangle their feet deep in to the wet, mucky soil of the earth. I had this imagery of giants sitting on the edge of a dock, dangling their feet into the water.
The river was the color of strong, old-fashioned brewed tea, like any proper Southerner makes and uses for sweet tea. The river was higher than the last time I went canoeing; there was no need to get out of the canoe and walk it over the rocky, “rapid” areas.I also found a new swimming spot on Rum Island, the stop off place for the canoe trip. And Santa Fe Canoe Outpost does full moon canoe trips down the river. There was one last night. The next one is October 31st. I suspect the river would be quite creepy at night. I do not think I want to know how many gators are actually in that river. The river is filled with things that I barely notice; being from Florida, they seem so ordinary. The population of air plants bearded along the tall trunks of the live oaks was unusual. They looked like pipe cleaners.
Overall is was a lovely morning, spent lazy on the river.