Herring on the run

Blueback herring on the Herring River, Wellfleet

The lilacs are blooming and the buttercups brighten the river banks, so the blueback herring are swimming upstream to spawn. We counted 89 in one ten-minute stretch this week, thus honoring World Fish Migration Day.

The herring do surprisingly well, despite the constricted tidal flow in the river. Their biggest problem comes at the culverts. Fortunately for them, the one near our count site did not have a snapping turtle, raccoon, or crow waiting on the upstream side.

Culvert on the Herring River, to be enlarged as part of the project to restore the Herring River estuary.

We love seeing the herring. They tell us that the river, although damaged, is not dead.

A friend and neighbor says that she loves the herring, too, especially when they’re pickled with peppercorns and bay leaves, then served with onions. That was possible in the days when the river flowed freely. Our hope is that fishing, shellfishing, birdwatching, boating, and more can return when the river is restored.

February rain

Dhoki Khola in flood

Dhoki Khola in flood

A torrential rainstorm with angry winds woke us this morning. It appeared to be a day to hide under the covers.

But the rain soon stopped and revealed a Kathmandu that is not always seen. Both the Bagmati River and the smaller Dhoki Khola were full and rushing. I longed for a boat to launch into the waves.

Chandragiri Hills

Chandragiri Hills

Arriving at King’s College, I joined others up to the roof to look at the surrounding snow-capped hills. A friend, Arjun, said that he had never in his life seen it so clear.

Of course, the phone camera fails to show what it really looked like, but with a little imagination you can see the Chandragiri Hills to the southwest and the snow on top.

High above the Trishuli Nadi

flowerWhen Shiva had been walking for a long time in the mountains north of the Kathmandu Valley, he grew thirsty, but there was no water to be found. Angry at that, he drove his trishula, or trident, into the ground to create three springs, which in turn created a river.

shiva_kanachur_mpSome say that the Trishuli begins with snow melt in the Langtang Himal. Other accounts, such as Wikipedia, say that the Trishuli River arises in Tibet, where it’s called Kirong Tsangpo.

In any case, Shiva’s river, the Trishuli, later joins the Bhote Kohsi that flows from Tibet and becomes a spectacular mountain river, with exciting rapids and impressive gorges. It is no surprise that it’s Nepal’s most popular rafting river. It looks like large parts of it could be canoed as well.

The Trishuli flows through mostly Buddhist regions then into Hindu areas. It is one of the major tributaries of the Narayani River, which eventually goes into India to join the Ganges.

trishuliAt this moment, I’m sitting on a veranda looking out at a series of hills that we would call mountains in New England. The view is partially obscured by a profusion of bougainvillea, poinsettia trees, palms, and many tropical plants I can’t identify, Workers at this guest house where we are staying have to keep cutting back the gorgeous greenery that people in Massachusetts would struggle to nurture as tiny house plants.

Yes, the economic conditions are bad, the roads are full of surprises, the electricity is whimsical, and the effects of the 2015 quake are still felt, but all the people we meet are warm and generous. They use their adequate English to help me learn a few words of Nepali.

valleyLocals directed us to a walk one way to see the hilltop village of Nuwakot with its durbar, or palace, square, now being restored; another to make a circuit of the hill behind with spectacular views; another to explore the farm with its geese, turkeys, donkeys, goats, and naturally organic vegetables.

But this evening seems like a time to stay on the veranda and take in the mountain air and the beautiful sunset silhouetting the hills.