Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Listen, Stop, and Look

Today ends my four-day weekend break from work and if you have read my recent posts, it was a break I needed in the worst way. I made a terrible mistake late last night and looked at my e-mail account at the office and found it to be dreadfully long and work-filled. Whenever I decide to take two days off, I pay for it!

This morning I needed to make a decision. I had already accomplished a few goals around the house over the weekend, i.e. cleaning the hardwood, etc. How will I spend my last day of freedom? How will I relax and rid the evil spirits at the office that haunt me? Go the mall and browse the new spring fashions and perhaps stop at the Lancome counter (love it!)? Or, shall I drive to the Latta Nature Preserve and explore a bit? My decision was a quick one as I am finding out that there is no better form of relaxation than to explore and experience natural places for the benefits of simplicity and quiet. Better yet, it’s free. One gallon of gas is all it costs.


The Audubon trail was slightly disappointing (I wanted bird shots) but I did see some unusual tree formations and met some fisherman on the lake. They were quiet and respectful men. I was alone and felt somewhat skittish but I overcame that feeling half-way through the hike.


Ok. It’s a Blue Jay, but I haven’t seen or noticed a Blue Jay since I lived in Baltimore. Honestly. I remember them attacking my Mother’s cat. Loud creatures, they are, but very beautiful. My photos stink today but it was fun trying. No waterfowl today, either!


The lake edged the trail and while I was thinking of how great this hike is for strengthening the ROM in my left foot (recent surgery related), I descended off-path and found myself in slow motion, gracefully slipping down an embankment. I heard voices nearby on the trail and while I was brushing soil from my butt, two Russian fishermen asked me if I was an employee and if I knew what time the parked closed. Now, how could they think a lady wearing make-up, a camera around her neck, and brushing off wet leaves from her ass was an employee?


Feeling a bit frustrated, after I listened, stopped, and looked that gave me little excitement with birds, I drove away from the Audubon trail but saw another on my way out. I knew I had to stop when I saw a hawk circling the parking area. It was an equestrian and hiking trail and screaming with birdsong. After a few minutes, I reached a spot that was incredibly quiet, motionless, and peaceful to the point I could hear myself breathe. All thoughts were away from what I’ll face tomorrow. Awesome peace, althought short-lived. Nice.


Being so alone in the woods can be eerie. I saw fresh dog dung, heard a bark, so I found a tree branch and kept it with me. Even though I’m a die-hard lover of dogs, a stray dog scares the hell out of me. Of course, a vicious dog would eat the stick and me, too. HA! I placed my walking stick against the split in this tree and wonder if it will still be there when I return.


There were woodpeckers busy hammering away and since they have decided not to visit my feeders, I took many shots of them. This female hairy was a treat. It was so nice to see her spiral the tree without caution. A lifer!


This red-bellied was also unconcerned and quite busy.

After a few hours, I headed home to enjoy my own backyard.


A pair of Bluebirds that I haven’t seen at home in a while.


Bluebirds are too darn special to be seen in the gutter!

For dinner tonight we are having soup I made yesterday - delicious bean soup with ham and some pumpernickel with real butter.


Am I ready to return to work tomorrow? Not really. Looking at this pot of soup gives me an idea, though…

Maybe it will serve as good ammunition to keep problematic people away from my office? Yes! (tee-hee)


Jayne said...

So glad you were able to spend your day in such a lovely place. Bean soup... yep... ought to keep everyone at bay... hehe.

KGMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KGMom said...

Deleted comment above?? that was me--I missed a word and the sentence made NO sense. I hate that.
What on the earth do you mean about being disappointed with bird shots? You have BLUE BIRDS in your yard, for goodness sake. Some of us would kill for. . .hmmmm maybe not kill, but LOVE to have bluebirds in our yards. I'll trade you our blue jays for your blue birds!
I love the woodpecker shots too.
Right choice for your day.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Cool day Mary! Your bird pictures ROCK!! You are too(t) funny about the bean soup! I LOVE bean and ham soup. I'll be right over!

LauraHinNJ said...

Sorry your mini-vacation has cme to an end, but it sounds like you're well-rested and ready for work tomorrow!


Ruth said...

Sounds like a perfect day. I hope I see even one bluebird this year. I have never seen one, ever! The soup looks yummy.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, looks like a wonderful meal! Hmm you are ending your 4 day weekend as I am about to start mine! Very much needed for sure! Love your nature adventure and you natural bench! Good to see the blue birds welcoming you home! Good luck at work tomorrow!

Annie in Austin said...

We have raucous blue jays here, too - but I've never seen a bluebird. You're so adventurous when in pursuit of a feathered-photo - walking along with a tree branch! I see women around here walking in wooded areas with golf clubs.

If you really want ammunition for tomorrow, just drink some Pete's Wicked Ale. This recommendation comes from someone who has been on the receiving end of the barrage.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Susan Gets Native said...

There is no color as perfect as the blue back of a male bluebird.

A walk in the woods can cure just about anything!

Cathy said...

Yep. You've got Spring Fever and it's making you ornery. Bean Soup as a weapon of mass distraction!? Yep. And then I encountered the words - "butt" and "ass"! Gawd I love this. It's so therapeutic. I was misbehaving at book club tonight - revealed some silly things about my first boyfriend and his toe fetish. (Well not really:0) I think we're sharing a titch of the same thing.
Mary! Google pictures of Yellow-bellied Woodpeckers and see if you can turn that female Hairy into a female or immature YB Woodpecker. You lucky duck!

Cathy said...

NO No I meant Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Forgive the spelling - Im in bed and too lazy to check it.

Unknown said...

Hope things go well tomorrow! Glad you had a good and relaxing day today! The bean soup is a great idea! Hope it works!

dmmgmfm said...

Very funny post with great pictures. Thanks for brightening my day!

Anonymous said...

Loved the berd pics today! I see woodpeckers here all the time but rarely a blue bird, and never this early in the Spring. I really envy you that. My computer sits against a window that looks out on to our woodlot and I get to see several varieties of the woodpeckers daily. Susan is right about the coloring of a bluebirds back, the only blue I like better is the Indigo Buntings that I see later on in the summer. Good luck at work tomorrow. I sent you a giggle to your e-mail address there...open it if the day gets too difficult for a quick smile!

Mary said...

Jaybe, it was a lovely day!

Donna, Bluebirds are so special. I hope you see them soon.

Lynne, I make bean soup w/ham once a year. The after effects are worth it!

Laura, I needed a break and I'm glad I had one.

Ruth, the day was close to perfect and I'd love to have a few more...

Mon@rch, enjoy your weekend!

Annie, Pete's Wicked Ale? LOL!

Susan, the male bluebirds seem to be getting brighter!

Cathy, misbehavin' is good for the soul on certain occasions!

Liza, the bean soup was yummy but didn't have the kick it usually has...

Laurie, if you can't laugh, you'll cry, right?

Jane, thanks for stopping by. You always bring a smile to my face!

Cuppa said...

Mall or Nature Preserve? Hmmm? You made the right choice by a long shot.

Malls drain you, Mother Nature feeds you - and NOT Bean soup! Hope you feel fortified in spirit today, and just like a bird - are able to spread your wings and rise above any obstacle you might encounter today.

Mary said...

Cuppa, the mall DOES wear me out. I'm glad I didn't go.

Cathy, now I know what you are talking about (sapsucker). Thanks to you and Mon@rch, I now know I have completely misidentified another bird :o)

sonia a. mascaro said...

Your day sounds like a delicious day, Mary! I love your good humor and I laugh a lot when you talk about the two Russian fishermen asking a question to you and also when you wrote this:" Now, how could they think a lady wearing make-up, a camera around her neck, and brushing off wet leaves from her ass was an employee?" LOL!

Love all photos! What a beautiful trail and wonderful view of the lake!

Mary, the soup looks yummy!