Who Squealed Louder?

Who Squealed Louder?

photo 3A balmy 97% humidity made it feel as if I was paddling my SUP board through water instead of on water. So close to the consistency of liquid was the atmosphere that I was soon drenched as I got into my fitness groove.

No air stirred, and the reflective river’s surface was only broken by mullet, alligator gar and bumblebees. Two of these flying wonders were upside down creating small ripples. I love bees and always stop and lend a paddle blade to rescue them so the two fat-bodied, pollen-toting creatures flew off to gather more pollen after a little help. I then continued downriver.

photo 2It was a hot paddle even though I started at 7am. But the playlist for the morning kept me going and before long I had paddled past the ski course, my 2.5 mile mark, and turned around. I faced the sun on my return paddle and it felt like I was being steamed alive. As fast as I drank water, I sweated it out of my body. My focus narrowed to simply getting back upriver and into the shade of the narrow part of the waterway.

Alligator gars were popping the surface as they came up for air. They can breathe underwater or at the surface and in the summer I see them from my paddle board as they pop up to breathe. I’ve had close encounters with them before and one time a large one (four feet long) surfaced at my left foot and I screamed like a kid. Since my board moves through the water silently I find myself too close often.

On-line photo
On-line photo

Today I had a particularly interesting encounter with this living fossil fish species. I was digging in, paddling hard. Jackson Browne was playing on my iPod and I was singing along…of course. “Fountain of sorrow….” and BUMP! My board was knocked. I squealed at the same time the gar squealed. I swear…I wasn’t suffering from heat stroke. The fish squealed! Either that or her armored, jagged, diamond shaped ganoid scales, that are nearly impenetrable, scraped the bottom of board and made the high-pitched sound. Or perhaps it was that double-row of sharp teeth. Regardless, I heard two squeals and can only claim one as my own.

It gave me a good laugh and brought me out of fine voice form momentarily. But I quickly recovered and went back to sweating, singing, paddling and groovin’ on this fine, summer morning on the Magnolia River.

My playlist you ask? It’s listed below in no particular order:

musicnotesriverFountain of Sorrow, Jackson Browne; Keep Breathing, Ingrid Michaelson; There Will Be a Light, Ben Harper; Never Alone, Lady Antebellum & Jim Brickman; Brothers & Sisters, Coldplay; Get On Your Boots, U2; Love Someone, Jason Mraz; Best Friend, Jason Mraz; Love is the Solution, Will Kimbrough; Sugar, Sugarcane Jane; My Someday, Brigitte Demeyer; Blessed Are the Brokenhearted, Jill Johnson; Washboard Lisa, Grayson Capps; Go in Peace, Sam Baker; Lift Your Spirit, Aloe Blacc; Ocean Soul, David Wilcox; God Bless, Lisa Carver; Mercy Now, Mary Gauthier; Singing Me Home, Lady Antebellum; Lost, Jay-Z & Coldplay; Knockin’, Carolina Chocolate Drops; Gypsy Train, Willie Sugarcapps; Not Alone, Ben Taylor; People of Love, Snatam Kaur; Surround Me, Ben Taylor; A Couple Hundred Miracles, Will Kimbrough;¬†Running on Sunshine, Jesus Jackson; Beautiful, Akon, Colby O’Donis, Kardinal Offishall; Make You Feel My Love, Adele; The Whole Enchilada, Keb’ Mo’; Belief, John Mayer;¬†…and more that I can’t remember.


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