It’s a weird juxtaposition. While canoeing through the marshy verdant area around the U.W. Waterfront Activities Center, you see turtles, geese, heron, ducks, and other waterfowl. You see lily pads and dragonflies. But when you look up there’s the 520 freeway, loaded with traffic. Fortunately you can paddle under and past the highway to slightly more remote areas. Today the sunny skies were also thundering with the Blue Angels when they came north during parts of their acrobatics over Lake Washington. One minute it’s “Hey, look at the baby ducklings!” and the next minute a fighter jet is screaming overhead at super-speed.
An interesting moment came when paddling under a little bridge that’s part of the arboretum “bog walk” trail. There was a crowded, dilapidated little boat moored there, with a dog and an angry guy inside. Actually, his boat wasn’t quite moored and was drifting into the path of canoes and kayaks trying to get under the bridge. He reacted by swearing at his dog, and at the world in general. Said something about, “Nobody came out to help me today, damn it.” It was kind of sad, actually. I wonder if he’s a homeless suburban mariner, living on a tiny boat, catching ducks to feed his dog, siphoning gas from bigger boats in the dead of night. That’s my imaginary story. The truth is probably more strange.