Photo-Journal

Photography and Writing by James McCarthy

To the headwaters

Beneath-the-bridge368

Paddling to the headwaters

sounds easy enough
yet river’s source
turns out to be

two branch streams
entering a pond
I thought to be
THE headwaters

tiny rivulets
the source
of all that water?

hard to imagine
at river’s
wide mouth

and so,

the Cathance
crooked river

empties
Bradley Pond

… and yet

two streams
fill the pond
one ‘Eastern’
the other ‘Western’
both ‘Cathance’

squiggles
on a map

too shallow
to paddle

all this
came later

map-gazing
to see
where


beaver-dam490

a beaver dam

-- fallen branches
ridge of rock
blocks
further
passage
upriver --

might be

in relation to
wherever
my
upriver
sojourn
stopped

turned back

floating
downstream
to its beginning

Route 201 bridge
over the Cathance

river swollen
Hurricane Sandy
three days of rain

checking first
a safe place
to put in

beneath the bridge
a campfire

someone homeless?

or teenagers
drinking beers
French-kissing
hoping to score?

push off
the bank

sliding
backwards

into

flowing
river
current

takes me
down river

ah, how nice
the feeling,
go with the flow

-- but not today

bright sun
blue sky
trees bare

no birds

clouds-floating-downstream3

cloud
reflections
float
downstream

wind ripples
advance
in waves
sun glitters
too

a road
running
parallel
to the river
cars and trucks
burning fuel

another flow

transmission wires
carry electricity
across the land
across the river

another flow

beef cattle grazing
manure smell
some look up
alert
not alarmed
as I paddle
upriver
past Bisson’s Farm

wilted-lily-pads470

shriveled lily pads
sunken pads
hole-y pads
returning to
mud from
which
white lilies
will rise again

crossbar
CMP lines
electrons flowing
a nest of sticks
osprey?
eagle?

c’ork c’ork
a crow
behind me
some where
unseen
caw caw
overhead
black soaring bird

a hawk?

no a crow

drooping-seed-heads468

how elegant
seed balls
bent stalks
ready to break
sending seed boats
downriver

flower again
-- or, maybe not

beaver-lodge-483

beaver hut
tall as a man
along the shore
how many
trees it took
to make?

outboard
motor-sound
behind me

silver skiff
three hunters
wearing orange
two step ashore
rifles in hand
the other
backs up
heading
downstream

beaver hut
tall as a man
how warm inside?

how many beavers?

cows-through-grasses-429

lowland
flood plain
cattle resting
rustling
grasses
in the wind

red berries
red bush
gray gnarled
branches
of a large
old tree

turn a corner
then another
river flowing
from its source

bubbling sound
diverging channel

take it …

or no?

small rapids
tree limbs
entwined

blocking
upriver
passage

small opening

but water’s
too deep
to risk
dumping

peaceful-scene-439

rest awhile
low clouds
wind sound
no others
seen or heard
other than
bare trees
scrub brush
dying lilies
rustling grasses
river running
through it all

so turn around

float
down
stream

slow
and
easy

paddling

drifting

going
home