A week ago Bill and I spent the weekend with friends who have a farm outside Abingdon, Va. Their property is bounded by the North Fork Holston River and Brumley Creek. We spent two hours kayaking down the river, taking out at their property. A storm upsteam had muddied the river, but improved the flow. It was our first trip on moving water. We had a great weekend.
A delightful drama played outside our breakfast window this morning. From her perch at the window, Kali cat had noticed the rabbit in his usual spot in the yard. She asked to go out and was soon stalking her prey, imagining herself to be the white tiger for whom she is named. We watched as she carefully approached the rabbit, tail twitching slightly. Meanwhile, the deer who had been enjoying fallen apples nearby noticed the activity and came to investigate, ears forward and a curious look on her face. She slowly circled behind the rabbit and came between the two, keeping her eyes on the cat. The rabbit seized the opportunity and bounded toward cover under the wisteria. The deer cautiously stepped forward and then back, uncertain about the cat crouched low in the grass. Suddenly Kali made a break for the deck and resumed her stance under the picnic table. The deer, having come so close to the house, looked around and tasted the white clover. It was good. She moved forward to explore the bird feeder, lingering long enough for me to get my camera and take a few shots through the glass door. What a great start to the day!
I began writing haiku on an annual spring fishing trip to the Ala/Fla gulf coast, to Perdido Key, Fla. I share my images of the gulf coast to bring contrast to the images I see on TV today. The coastal waters and marshes are a treasure beloved by millions, those who make their life and living there, and those like my family who visit there as often as possible.
Images from Pensacola Pass, Intracoastal waterway and Gulf Island National Seashore near Perdido Key, Florida, March 2007:
Thrashing, rolling, flashing fin,
Leaping, diving, gone!
Feel sun and cool breeze.
Watch birds soar and fish feed.
Catch just one...Enough.
Empty beach, white sand
As far as the eye can see,
Grand Isle, Louisiana, 2005-2006:
We had several great seasons fishing at Grand Isle, La. Then Katrina destroyed the fish camp we rented from friends and significantly damaged the island. The resilient people built back. The current man-made disaster will be more difficult to overcome. The images below are from 2005 and 2006. Eddie worked the rigs and loved to fish. He put us on some great speckled trout. I wonder what he is doing now.
Orange Beach, Alabama is our favorite vacation spot. We typically go there twice a year and hope to spend more time there in retirement. The debris in the photo below is natural, unlike that which is washing up today. As I observed in 2008:
Scattered debris of
Broken shells, remnants of life
So fragile and brief.
I have faith that eventually, life will win out and nature will heal. Someday again, the sea will provide for those on the gulf coast.
Ascend the mountain
One foot after another.
Achieve the summit.
Our annual group hike took us up Chimney Top in the Smokies. I thought I could make it, but wasn't sure. I haven't attempted anything that physically challenging in a long while. I'm glad I tried and pleased that I made it. Twenty-five years ago it wasn't the same challenge.
Mountain hike reward
Elkmont fireflies on display.
I have just returned from a night hike near Elkmont Campground in the Smokies. A group of friends went up to see the unique firefly display of synchronous flashing. It was something that can hardly be described, but must be experienced. A firefly lightshow accompanied by mountain stream music. It was well worth the damp, dark trek up and down. No pictures in the dark, just those that linger in memory.