Thursday, August 13, 2009

Maiden Voyage

Well! This is my maiden voyage in the world of blogging. I am thrilled to finally have a way to reach out to kindred spirits and to share my love of nature. As time goes by, I will share excerpts from the nature journal I am keeping on Fish Creek, an outlet of Saratoga Lake in Saratoga Springs, New York. This creek is amazingly still quite beautiful and, relatively unspoiled. My friend, Mira, a fellow nature-enthusiast, and I, took a 6- and- a- half hour paddle on Tuesday, and it was phenomenal! We spotted great blue herons, as well as green herons, and got to see a belted kingfisher do its famous dive-bomb into to the water to catch a fish! Along the way, we saw pasture roses in bloom, as well as day lillies, jewelweed, arrowhead, joe pye weed, purple loosestrife, and more. Spruce, pine and hemlock, as well as deciduous maple, elm,and birch dominate the shores, creating a magical forest through which we passed; in some places, no human presence could be detected. Only the call of redwing blackbirds, catbirds, and crows punctuated the more melodious songs of robin, baltimore oriole, and sparrow.
The history of this creek is quite impressive, Native Americans lined these shores for literally thousands of years. Before the dam was built on the Hudson, shad, herring, eel, and salmon ran these waters, and nourished the peoples who lived here. The great Iroquois tribes lived here, as well as others before them, and they flourished in a land that was abundant in wildlife and resources.
They obtained most of their food by gathering, hunting and fishing, but also grew maize, beans and squash.
In spring, they would gather fiddlehead ferns, cattail shoots, milkweed shoots, and marsh marigold shoots; in fall, they gathered chestnuts, hickory nuts, acorns and walnuts; and in winter, they gathered and stored nuts, seeds and roots. In the abundance of summer, they shared in strawberries, grapes, berries of all sorts, milkweed flowers, and rose hips.
In addition, they hunted Black bear , Elk, and Moose, now virtually unknown in the area, were plentiful, as well as whitetail deer, beaver and wild turkey. (Re: The First People of the Northeast, by Esther and David Braun)
While the natural splendors of those times are now, to a great extent, lost, we are still fortunate that the waters still flow with great beauty, and they are still attracting and supporting many fascinating and beautiful species.
It is my hope that this blog will serve in one small way to inspire, renew interest, and remind us all that this world is precious, and we must all work to preserve it, if our children, and our childrens' children, are not to be faced with a similarly drastic reduction in organic life.
Keep your eyes on the sky!

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