Missing – one nice island

Something was missing when I took Hank for some exercise north of Newton Sunday morning.

I had the whistle, one of Hank’s retrieving dummies, some biodegradable shampoo for his bath and my cup of coffee.

But our island wasn’t there.

For the last several years I’ve thrown dummies on and beyond an island in Sand Creek. It was a good test for Hank’s marking abilities when I let him watch the fall. The island and deep, swift water on the island’s far side gave Hank an added challenge when I was working him on a blind retrieve.

But Sunday there was only about a foot of water where once had been the island.

No doubt last Sunday’s high water dissolved it away. And that’s saying something.

The island was about 75 feet long and 30 feet wide at the widest. It probably rose three feet above the creek’s normal water level and was thick with cottonwood and willow saplings up to eight-feet tall.

But it was scoured clean from the stream.

So I’ve seen many times on the streams and rivers in Kansas.

Two years ago I found a mound of gravel and small rock six-feet tall where I used to stand on shallow sand at a favored Flint Hills stream. Just upstream the place that had once been a favored fishing hole is now a serious of shallow riffles.

And a huge old oak tree that for years ate its share of my flies simply wasn’t along the stream’s shoreline one day. Judging from others I’d seen cut in the area it was probably about 100 years old and fast water had carried it away.

It’s kind of humbling when Mother Nature decides to show us she’s still in charge.

Kind of cool, though, too.