Sunday, May 08, 2005

piece of calm

This morning, while sitting to write the previous post, I decided that it was too nice a day to sit at the kitchen table making myself type the last 3 pages of my paper when Peanut and I could take our lunch and head to the Rappahannock river.* So I asked him about it and that's what we did.

Within 5 min of getting there, after finding a nice wide group of rocks on which to perch in order to partake of our PB&J sandwiches and fruit, I gazed out over the water and almost immediately berated myself for not bringing something to write on or with. This happens to me a lot so I haven't quite figured out why I still think I won't want to write anything when I go to places like this. (I have even bought myself a digital voice recorder recently for those long drives in the car when writing doesn't seem to go well with driving.)

Where we were perched, I happened to look across the river from us and saw not 1, but 7 Great Blue Heron. They were hanging out, doing their fishing thing and chasing each other out of the good spots. I got to see several catch large fish and swallow them whole and it was the most amazing and natural thing I've seen in a long time.

Sitting there and gazing at the herons reminded me of a book I read last summer for a Nature Writing class called Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams. She wrote about her mother dying of cancer and juxtaposed that experience with that of the Great Salt Lake and it's overflowing ability to remind those in government positions that Nature could not be tamed nor predicted. It's a great read and I highly recommend.

Anyway, in the book there are sections where she talks about her walks through the sanctuaries of Great Salt Lake and the many birds and flowers she sees there. She remembers which birds come to migrate every year, laments on which ones she hasn't seen yet and wonders where the Isis are. Perhaps I make a mental note of almost every bird I see now, just as she did for a long time, when I visit oceans or rivers because some part of me wants to remember what they look like just in case 2020 rolls around and we're steadily approaching a barren Earth. It's not a world I want for my son's future and sitting on that rock was a melancholic experience for that reason. It brought to mind all that Bush and his regime are trying to do to our forests (see my previous post titled Environmental Suicide) that house so many species of birds/reptiles/amphibians/animals that one can easliy lose count. Even the Repub's have been getting in on the chastising. Bush has relaxed restrictions for companies and industries that weren't strong enough to begin with and of course, he has denied Global Warming exists despite hard evidence to the contrary.

So, getting back to our trip. We finally came upon another place to chill and relax (because he wanted time to eat his brownie bites) and I looked out over the river again. This time, there were 3 Great Blue Heron, a few Mallards and Canada Geese, then this 1 lone Little Blue Heron. As we watched the Great Blue Heron close to us catch a fish and swallow it, another hawk-like bird dove into the water and came out with a large fish. Instincts told me this was an Osprey, but I wasn't sure. I looked it up when I got home and yay, I was right!

I think the other fun part was doing with Peanut what my dad did with us when I was a kid. Often we would all drive up to Richmond for the day and on the nice days my dad would take us to the James River where my sister and I would clamber around for most of the day. Ahhh, those were the days.

*The picture is one from further up river, this is more like where we were which is also further down river. And I can't tell from where along the Rappahannock these are being taken either.