Below Hanlan Bridge (oil on canvas 12 x 16 in.) Sold

22 July found me sitting on a cedar root above Kemptville Creek, below the Hanlan Bridge in Oxford Mills, Ontario. It was 26C and overcast, with a light breeze that didn't reach me through the woods.  Cedar trees leaned from the lower edge of the slope down from the road. The moss and leaf litter were parched, and Cicada's buzzy whine rang high in the ashes, elms, and spruce. The stoney, gravelly streambank was about a meter below my dangling feet and the flood-exposed roots of the cedars, the water golden and slow, streaked by floating skeins of Cladocera algae. Its surface dimpled with skating water striders, making rings that look liked rain was falling from the hot, hazy sky. Along the far bank the bottom glowed through the water at a place where the floating algae hung up on it in a long "U" shape, indicating to me the gravel bar inside of which we have found young Mudpuppies, still striped. Fred and company were wading downstream, looking for mother Mudpuppies under the largest, flattest rocks, to show Elaine who is studying Mudpuppy denning preferences.

 Something splashed near the opposite bank, and again, and then I notice a big lazy fin... Carp!  A Grackle strutted, long-tailed and formal in black, poking under the edges of water-side stones. Amid the twittering of little voices a Towhee sang "drink your tea" - so I did, cold from my thermos.

Grapevines reflected in the water like ropes hanging from the trees, but they weren't hanging, they were climbing. They must have grown there when there was a continuous twiggy vegetation that has now receded into the canopy, leaving them swaying in the open. I wonder how old they are...


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