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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Walcott’

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and behave very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed … and everything collapses.” – Collette

Morning sunrise at about 6:40 a.m. here at Lake Walcott State Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

In the Flicker of an Image

I never tire of waking up to a sunrise here at Lake Walcott. Each one is different, but all are usually awesome.

Flags at half-mast in front of the Lake Walcott State Park visitor center. — Photo by Pat Bean

This one, since my canine traveling companion, Pepper, let me sleep in an extra hour, was taken at about 6:40 a.m. The days are slowly getting shorter here now. This would have been too late to catch even a glimmer of sunrise when I first arrived.

And I noticed last night that it was now getting dark before 10 p.m. Lake Walcott is far enough north from southern Texas, where I grew up, that there’s a significant difference in how long summer days can be. That was emphasized when I was on the phone the other evening with my son. He noted that it was dark outside at 8 p.m. while there was still two hours of daylight left here.

It’s also finally gotten hot here at the park, not by Texas standards perhaps, but enough that I take Pepper for long walks only in the early mornings and late evenings. On this morning’s walk, I saw that the flags at the park’s visitor center were at half-mast.

It took me a moment before I realized that this was probably done to honor those whose lives were so senselessly lost in Aurora, Colorado. Because I don’t have a TV, that tragedy is only brought to my attention when I read the news on my computer.

A single sunflower reminded me that life goes on. It’s just that after the Aurora tragedy, it will never be the same again for those who lost loved ones or those who will carry scars of that day. — Photo by Pat Bean

Suddenly all the joy of my morning evaporated.

Like the rest of the caring, honorable, law-abiding people in this world, my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones, and to those whose lives will never be the same again.

I know life will go on, just as the sunflowers I left dying when I left Lake Walcott last fall, are just now beginning to bloom again. My hope, however, is that one day we will live in a kinder, more caring, gentler world where such acts would never even enter anyone’s mind.

History tells me that will never happen, but I, for one will never stop hoping. If Mother Nature can change her face day by day, then so can we.

Bean’s Pat: Goodnight Precious http://tinyurl.com/d6dfkr3 A kinder picture for all of us who grieve Aurora. The wondering wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

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“The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude on life … I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.” – Charles R. Swindoll

Pepper after getting into the sprinklers and then the ferns at a friend’s house. Yes, she’s a cutie pie, but … — Photo by Pat Bean

 

Which Do You Want to Hear First?

There seems to be more birds here at Lake Walcott this year than last, an eye-popping treat for this enthusiastic birder. But perhaps that’s because there are more bugs as well.

Thankfully they’re not the stinging kind, just clouds of mayflies thick enough to provide a privacy curtain and little black gnats that like to fly up your nose.

A gaggle of Canada geese making their getaway as Pepper and I near. Too bad they can’t take their poop with them. — Photo by Pat Bean

It was so much fun watching the Canada geese and their goslings when I first arrived here in Southern Idaho mid-May. There was a bumper crop of young’ens. But now I find myself stepping around tons of goose poop – and they poop big – when I walk the bank paths. Yuck!

Pepper, the Scotty mix puppy I rescued after losing my longtime canine traveling companion, Maggie, brings daily adventure and joy to my life. But she wakes me every morning at 5:30 a.m., and makes sure we take long walks no matter how thick the bugs are outside.

And so life goes.

There’s always bad with the good, and good with the bad. Swindoll got it exactly right. Attitude is the key to our days.  I’m grateful I see my own glass as always half full instead of half empty.

What about you?

Bean’s Pat: Green-rumped parrotlets http://tinyurl.com/brwgre2 From egg to adult. Fantastic. Blog pick of the day from the wondering wanderer.

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 “The man who never alters his opinion Is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.” William Blake.

These flowers bloomed while I was gone. There were big bunches of them all along a short section of the bank in the upper tent campground. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Life Goes On

And the milkweed plants, which the butterflies love, here at the park went from this … — Photo by Pat Bean

I’m Back now at Lake Walcott, after leaving for four days to fly to Texas for a granddaughter’s wedding. I had a marvelous time. I got to see a new great-grandson, now almost seven months old, for the first time. And I’m still feeling the love from all the family hugs I received.

Homecoming, when it involves loved ones, is always sweet after an absence. It’s a benefit that helps make up for the distance my chosen on-the-road life and the scattered residences – from Texas to Florida, Illinois to Arizona, with Argentina thrown in for good measure – of my children and grandchildren.

But while I was gone, this southern Idaho state park where I’m volunteering for the summer continued its ever-changing life cycle, welcoming me back with new wonders.

My hummingbird feeder was empty and the bird seed feeder, which I had filled to the brim before taking off, had only a few sunflower seeds remaining in it. I had left both full, not wanting to disrupt the continuity of the birds that visit my RV site.

A black-headed grosbeak and an American goldfinch – a study in orange and yellow – were at the feeder when I pulled in. It was the first grosbeak that had visited and I was delighted to see it. I suspected that the Bullock’s orioles had emptied the hummingbird feeder as I’ve only had a few hummers visit this year.

Black-headed grosbeak — Wikipedia photo

My first walk around the park after being back was full of changes too. Along with coming across branches that had blown down from the weekend storm I missed, I noticed that the milkweed had matured, and that some bank plants had come into bloom while I was gone.

It was fun to see the changes, which so often are missed on a day-to-day basis. Life goes on where ever one goes.

Bean’s Pat: Katmai National Park http://tinyurl.com/765d97z Fishing bears. I couldn’t resist sharing this. Blog pick of the day from the wondering wanderer.

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 “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.” – Edward Abbey

Always the Same But Always Different

 

I often sit on this bench to watch birds. The area is a favorite hangout of western kingbirds and Bullock’s orioles. — Photo by Pat Bean

Before I became a full-time wondering wanderer, I enjoyed the familiarity of my frequent hikes on the benches of Utah’s Mount Ogden, whose shadow stretched down to touch my pleasant home.

From day-to-day, season-to-season, year-to-year, I got to watch the same landscape in its different moods and growth. It was an awesome experience.

While I truthfully tell everyone the only thing I miss since paring all my belongings down to fit into a 22-foot long RV is my bathtub – showers have just never been my bathing choice – I’m beginning to think I also miss the continuity of watching one particularly landscape change on a daily basis.

My volunteer position as a campground host here at Lake Walcott State Park for the last three summers is what started me thinking about this. I walk all around this park daily, several times in fact since my canine traveling companion, Pepper, needs an outlet for her energy. And I never tire of seeing the same landscape over and over.

Today the lake is mirror smooth, and so provides a canvas for the landscape to paint.

Part of that is because it’s ever-changing. The slant of the sun, the shadow of a cloud, the arrival of the nighthawks, a new flower opening its petals, the mirror smoothness or crashing waves of the lake against the shore, all this and much, much more add variety and delight to my walks.

Edward Abbey got it right. It’s as important to enjoy the land as it is to protect it. The first, I suspect, will make us fight all the harder to accomplish the latter.

Bean’s Pat: Life in the Bogs http://bogsofohio.wordpress.com I chose this blog as my pick of the day because its author/photographer frequently posts pictures of the same pond in its many moods. I never tire of seeing her pond day after day.

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“More than anything else, I believe it’s our decisions, not the conditions of our lives, that determine our destiny.” – Tony Robbins

 

Killdeer abound here at Lake Walcott, but I usually see them on the shore, where they dart around too quick for me to photograph. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

Slow Down Pepper

With my birding binoculars around my neck, my point-and-shoot digital camera in the pocket of my campground- host vest, and my canine traveling companion, Pepper, tugging impatiently at the end of the leash I’m holding, I headed out this morning for a walk around Lake Walcott State Park.

One of the many bunnies that calmly stay just outside of Pepper’s reach. — Photo by Pat Bean

There will be more walks to come during the day, a necessity when you need to burn energy off a seven-month-old terrier mix — but the morning one is always my favorite.

No walk is the same, and each walk brings me some new delight – and occasionally not, like three days ago when a swarm of gnats found us and followed us the rest of the way home.

Today’s walk, however, was perfect. It began with the overhead flight of a lone white pelican, whose white feather’s sparkled against a backdrop of blue sky. The pelicans mostly stay outside the park, preferring to fish in the Snake River below the Minidoka Dam that holds the lake in place, so today’s air show seemed special.

The mullien is just starting to bloom. — Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper, meanwhile, was more interested in the two bunny rabbits that frequent the lawn by our RV, tauntingly staying just beyond her reach. The robins and the killdeer here at the park tease her the same way, and today was no different. I’ve learned to keep a firm grip on her leash.

This morning is cool and breezy. The lake, however, is mirror smooth, the perfect reflective surface to capture the vibrancy of overhanging trees and the upside-down images of the flock of geese that are hanging out near the boat dock.

A lone nighthawk circles overhead, passing in front of the pale white moon, with only a sliver missing, that is still visible in the morning sky. The sight adds an extra touch of magic to the morning, and I feel my body relaxing into the moment.

Barn swallows swoop along the banks. A great-horned owl hoots in the distance, and mourning doves coo a reply. No human symphony ever sounded better to my ears.

One day a golden dandelion, the next a fluff ball of seeds waiting for a breeze to blow them to their new digs. — Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper is interested in everything, darting here and there. She lunges at a butterfly, chases a fallen leaf, sticks her nose in a ground hole, and plunges through a puddle left behind by the sprinklers. She’s getting better at knowing how far she can run before hitting the end of the leash – and has already learned she can run full-out if she does it in circles.

I tell her to slow down, to enjoy the moment. Her tiny pink tongue lolls, and her eyes dance with excitement.

Slow, I realize, is not in her understanding. But at least she’s enjoying the morning —  as am I.

Bean’s Pat: Chicks With Ticks http://tinyurl.com/6nlun9e Oaken Earth Mother. Blog Pick of the day selected by this wondering wanderer, tree-hugger.

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Fall sketch of red-winged blackbird at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

“Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self, in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one’s nakedness can always be felt, and sometimes, discerned.” James Arthur Baldwin.

One Thing Is Not Like the Other

Female red-winged blackbird — Wikipedia photo

Back in my earlier days of bird watching, I came across a small flock of birds at Green River State Park in Utah that I spent an hour, field guide in hand, trying to identify. They just didn’t quite fit the description of any North American bird, or so I was coming to conclude.

And then a lone male red-winged blackbird flew past – and the light bulb came on. My flock of birds were female red-winged blackbirds. It wasn’t that I hadn’t seen them before, I had just forgotten how unlike their mates they look.

You can find red-winged blackbirds anywhere you live here in North America.

Here at Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho, the males flash their scarlet epaulets boldly, saying look at me, look at me. The females, however, mostly stay hidden in the reeds growing on the lake bank, where they build their nests, in hopes they won’t be seen.

The show-off male — Wikipedia photo

It’s a rare day here at the park that I don’t see both birds, the females because I know where to look, and the males everywhere I look.  This morning one was even checking out the fresh supply of sunflower seeds I had put in my bird feeder.

Life doesn’t get much better.

Bean’s Pat: Lady Romp http://tinyurl.com/cekabj8 A message we all need to remember. Blog pick of the day from this wandering wonderer.

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 “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” – Chinese proverb

Well What Are They?

I haven’t a clue as to what these berries are. Do you? — Photo by Pat Bean

I was sitting at my computer when Pepper jumped up from her cozy spot on my bare feet and started barking frantically.

Somebody, perhaps the tenth person this day, was approaching my RV. I glanced outside to see who it was, then hushed Pepper and told her it was OK.

I never scold her for barking because I like having her as my alarm system, even if her barks are sounded frequently, which they are. People, noting the campground host sign in front of my Lake Walcott RV site, stop by often.

But I do know that this is a milkweed. I learned its name last year in my searches to identify Lake Walcott plants. It’s a special favorite of butterflies. — Photo by Pat Bean.

I’m pretty good at answering most questions about the park, including its history and what facilities and activities are available. This, after all, is my third year as a volunteer here.

Sometimes the campers ask me to identify a bird they just saw. This is my favorite question because I can almost always answer it. With the exception of the sharp-tailed grouse, every bird species found here at the park is on my life birding list.

This guy, however, had a plant question.

“Are these huckleberries?” He was holding up a twig with berries from a bush that I had spotted earlier in the day – and photographed because I wanted to know what kind of berries they were myself.

Sadly I hadn’t been successful in identifying them, and had to tell him I didn’t know. I do so hate disappointing campers. Perhaps one of my readers is as avid a plant enthusiast as I am about birds and can tell me. See picture above.

Bean’s Pat: Serenity Spell http://tinyurl.com/87qcugr A young great blue heron’s meal. Great photos. Blog pick of the day by this wondering wanderer.

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