“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
I have been messing about in boats all of my life, spending hours rowing my dory into sea marshes full of greenish mud and hermit crabs and sea gulls and herons. I fished for flounder and eel with a drop line and trawled for mackerel with a shiner. I caught blowfish for my mother, who considered their lower regions a great delicacy, and captured horse shoe crabs for my Aunt, who ate their stomachs.
As a teenager, I sailed with my friends up the New England coast, learning what it feels like to capsize, what tearing a hole in the hull sounds like as you go over the rock, and how bleak and cold and utterly without hope you feel clinging to the mast in a northeast gale.
After I made Wisconsin my home I explored the Wisconsin and Kickapoo Rivers, Lake Wingra and Lake Mendota by canoe, foraging for mushrooms, wild garlic, spring beauties, nettles and curly dock. When I moved to Michigan and a cabin on a natural wild river, the Betsie, I got even closer to the action in my kayak. I learned how dragonflies mate (stuck together in a circle), when bats take to swimming, where salmon spawn, the sound of otters chuckling at night and mink mothers scolding their kits across a creek.
My Marshlanders share my joy in nature’s splendor as they struggle to protect their wetlands from merchant adventurers and land developers.
Telling their story is my small step on behalf of our lovely planet.