Spring in the South
Great Blue Heron
My son is visiting from England and we decided to take a day trip, the three of us, my husband, my son, and I, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. We walked out on a pier over the beach and this gorgeous blue heron became quite annoyed with us for interrupting his peaceful time. He eventually flew away but not until I'd gotten several great shots. The foliage on the trees was beautiful. It was still the bright, light color of green that we see in early spring before the dust gathers on the trees. There were a few clouds, but the sun was in and out. That trip was one example of a way to work a bit of nature into your life. We are very fortunate that we have a small cabin in Arkansas and a boat to take us fishing both here in Louisiana and in Arkansas. The forest around the camp and the lakes both here and there are perfect for getting back in touch with nature. We also go to the park near to us to feed the birds and sometimes just sit and watch the water in the small man-made lake there. I think it's necessary to be outdoors. Even if it's in my own backyard, I try to spend an hour or so outside every day. Indoor air becomes stale, lack of sun can lead to all sorts of things, and television and books don't give us the same invigorated feeling that comes from feeling the sun and wind and seeing the birds and other critters doing their respective things. I grew up in the country. My sister and I shared a bedroom. An owl often perched in a pine tree where we could see him out of her window and hooted us to sleep. That's how deep in the country we were. I loved being outdoors then and crave it now.
Pelican in Flight on Pete Wilson Lake, Arkansas
Hawk in Flight over Pete Wilson Lake
On the Lake
We fished almost every day that we spent on our last trip to the camp in Arkansas and got only one bite when Joe caught a jackfish (yuk) which didn't actually bite. The hook caught him in the tail! We did enjoy each trip out on to the three different lakes where we fished, though, and got lots of beautiful bird photos. I had no idea the pelicans were so plentiful in Arkansas and some of our friends remarked that they had come in up there about ten years ago and never left. We were just about the only boat out on the days we fished and the birds felt free to carry on their usual routines. Of course, the cypress trees are pretty even when bare and the Spanish moss is even more stunning in the winter. We went home each evening tired but tired in the way I consider "good" tired, physically tired and mentally and spiritually refreshed.
Sunset at the Camp
We had a wonderful sunset the first night at the camp, which prepared us for all the pretty sights on the lake. It is breathtaking to see a sunset like this and sad to see it leave. The sky truly looked like it was on fire. I have seen it many, many times on trips up there and never tire of it.
This sunspot appeared over Lake Mary Saline when we were driving over the bridge. I know there is a more scientific name for it, but I have always called them sunspots and likely always will. We thought they were good luck when we were young, just like rainbows. This one did not fade for a very long time.
In this photo, I believe I captured a bit of the ethereal mist. If you look on the middle left, you will see it. The sky was absolutely radiant that evening and just when we thought the show was over, it would change again.
Deer and Other Animals
Joe spotted these two deer grazing in the area behind the camp one morning. They weren't frightened by us because we were too far away. The deer seem to feel confident in the woods this time of year. I suppose they know my husband and his cronies won't be back until next fall to hunt them because right now, there are deer tracks all over the woods.
Just Do It
I have had so many people tell me they couldn't be outdoors or enjoy nature because they didn't have money. Sorry, but that's an excuse. There have been times when we didn't have access to the camp or to our boat, which we only bought last year. There are state parks, national parks, lakes, even some of the rest areas in Louisiana are truly beautiful. It makes me sad that some children will never get to see some of the sights in this hub. I grew up surrounded with most of it, growing up in rural Little Rock, and I believe it enriched my life. A spiritual teacher of mine once said that there are three paths to God. One of the ones he listed was nature, and I believe that's true. It also has always helped me put things in perspective and sort out my feelings, walking along a dirt path among the pine trees. It is there and it is free except for perhaps the cost of a tank of gas and a picnic lunch. Take advantage of it.