Rainy Day Paddle Trip
Guest Author today is Woody the Wood Duck Decoy
He followed my little blue kayak for 200 miles down the Raccoon River in June of 2008. Typed by Jim Riggs since Woody’s webbed feet were awkward.
Today, after what seemed a long time of paddling, the sky got dark and a few drops of rain speckled the river. My old guy stuffed his camera in his dry bag like he did every time we heard the roar of one of those rock dams on the Raccoon River. A huge roll of thunder echoed up the river as he pulled out his rain coat, removed his life jacket, and readied himself for wet weather.
He was just in time too. Another big clap of thunder opened up the sky. The river filled with millions of miniature volcanoes. My old guy pulled his hood over his hat, tying it tight around his neck. The rain rolled off me like water off a duck’s back.
He paddled hard for a while and then pulled under an overhanging tree, below a high bank, where the water was just dripping instead of driving like a hurricane. We sat until the size of the volcanoes on the water surface got tiny. Then we were paddling again. I think he was a little worried about lightning which is something that usually doesn’t trouble us ducks much since we sit so low to the water.
The next clap of thunder almost lifted me from the water and set me on the back deck of the kayak. My old guy ducked real low, like that was going to save him after the lightning flashed and the thunder roared from someplace between him and me.
After that we kept close to the trees on either side of the river. I think my old guy didn’t want to be the highest thing around.
Soon the rain slowed to a heavy drizzle. That’s when I had my most frightening experience of the trip. On the left bank of the river, like a portrait in the woods, a coyote appeared. He stood watching us drift past on the swift current. His body was soaked from the last shower, but his thick fur shined in the mid-day light. I was a little scared. Actually, I was scared a lot. He looked like an animal who would savor a little duck for lunch.
The situation might have been tolerable for me except for what happened next. We drifted downstream out of his sight, and the coyote walked on down the river bank, paralleling our progress. He was staring. He was staring at me. And he was moving his tongue over his lips. The coyote was staring at me and licking his chops. The hungry looking mammel was coveting my body. The brownish-gray carnivore was trying to figure out a way to eat me for lunch.
If I had been able to fly, I’d have flown away to another part of the river right then. Luckily, the coyote thought through the possibilities and gave up. He watched my old guy and me drift on down the river. I think he decided I was not worth the danger the old guy might cause him.