WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: DANGER!

 

Michelle  says share a photo that says Danger! to you.
oh, And use an exclamation mark!
Her’s is a hoot!

 

On my town park walkway, a warning to strollers
of a clear and present danger!
Of course, I nearly walked into the sign.

Toni 5/6/17

 

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I almost wrote 4/3/17 when I signed off this post.  What a scatterbrain.

Maybe that’s why this never happens to me.

April kind of went by in a blur.  But, oh! May! The flowers and birds are happy-go-larky.

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Nature always inspires me.  So does Wendell Berry~ poet, farmer, environmentalist.

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

Wild things and totes work for me. Hey, I ain’t no drag, I got a brand new bag.

 

How did I ever manage without it? It’s gentle on my shoulders ~ a-a-h ~ and the best part?  I know where everything is. And I mean everything.

 

Do you have a pen pal? Here’s mine. What a sweetie!!!

 

We’ll be together soon. Until then, I’m on turtle watch.

 

So, what are you (screen) watching? I’m finishing up Offspring, the Australian series. And The Great British Baking Show~ you know, the Downton Abbey of cakes and torts. Did you watch it?  It made me crave cheesecake tiers and lady fingers and sponges and macarons and frangipanes….well, you get the idea. I really love that tent and everyone under it.

 

I just finished (virtually) traveling to every US state with Stephen Fry, in a traditional British black cab. He gets right under the skin of American life~ the good, the bad, and the ugly. Give it a try. On Netflix, one of many intensely good documentaries.

Oh, this. Skip the movie, A Man Called Ove. Read the book. Precious.

 

Speaking of books, I checked out (and renewed) way too many books at the library this month.  Plus all my requests on OverDrive seem to come in all at once.
If you’re anything like me (and I suspect you are), you have a TBR list. Mine is out of control.

 

There’s time enough, but none to spare.

~Charles W. Chesnutt

How will I read them all?  Will I?  And then I read this. 

HOW MANY BOOKS WILL YOU READ BEFORE YOU DIE? SPOILER: IT DEPENDS ON HOW OLD YOU ARE RIGHT NOW

 

What are you reading now?  I’m between a thriller and a hard place.

I’m super excited about the new Richard Russo book that comes out this month. Trajectory, his new collection of short fiction.

 

Summer’s here! I’ve got my seed catalog dog-eared. My head is in the clouds dirt.  I can’t wait to see the garden grow….

…to the strains of Nestor Torres. I saw him perform, what a talent.
He’s on my Pandora, non-stop.

OMG, I finished listening to S-Town!!!! SO good. Did you? Can we talk?
Tell me, what’s up with you? It’s May….got plans?

 Toni 5/3/17

It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went.*

I am on the Loxahatchee, Florida’s first National Wild and Scenic River, going upstream.  

 

All visible civilization is behind me. No sign of asphalt, concrete, or cable, not even a hum from I-95. The vegetation is dense, the scenery wild. We pause.  The silence is broken only by the splash of a mullet.

 

 

At first the water is brackish, tall mangroves lean over sloping banks.  But in a mile or so, the river changes personality.  It’s mostly fresh water now, lined with ferns, palmettos, and brooding centuries-old cypress trees that block out the light of day. Reddish blooms and wild orchids dot the trees. Turtles sun on fallen logs, herons fish near the shore, osprey perch on treetops.  A twelve-foot alligator makes gimlet-eye contact from an ankle-deep mangrove swamp.

 

The Loxahatchee Queen churns around the next bend and ties up at a pine-log dock. 

We enter the restored compound once occupied by Vince “Trapper” Nelson. It’s the last place a boat can go before turning around.

After what seems like an eternity, moving upriver through a tropical ecosystem, the first sign of man’s intrusion is Trapper’s old boat shed. An intrusion to be sure, but a welcomed sight to those who felt lost in this jungle paradise.             ~ artist Ron Parvu

There are plenty of tales about the “Man of the Jungle”, this legendary real-life Tarzan. Hobo,trapper, gambler, hunter, alligator wrestler, celebrity host, snake charmer, lady charmer, voracious reader. Trapper Nelson lived life on his own terms.

 

Primitive but serviceable, Trapper’s small cabin and open-walled chickee hut sheltered him. His favorite food was gopher tortoise stew. He trapped, hunted, and kept a barrel filled with rattlesnakes. A likable guy, they say, with a dry sense of humor and unusual pets.

Trapper Nelson had a flair for playing Tarzan (on his stout rope swing over the river) and entertaining strangers (like various Whitneys, DuPonts, and Kennedys) with his pens and pits of captured alligators, caged bobcats, and deadly rattlesnakes.  Want to be the center of attention? Do what Trapper did ~ cut off the head of a gopher tortoise, drink its blood, and praise the virtues of wildlife nutrition.

The walls showcased his talent for the jungle lifestyle.  And so did his neck, draped with dramatic species, a thrill for his awe-struck guests.  Outdoor chic, you might say.

 

 

There’s little left of the Jeep he used to charge through the surf.

 

Trapper played all the angles. What a salesman.  He sold animals to zoos and wholesalers; hides of otter, bobcat, and rattlesnake to Sears Roebuck; orchids and plants by mail-order; postcards of his jungle garden; sugarcane. Trapper rented rowboats and poles for fishing, sold baby alligators from his pens, firewood from his never-ending woodpile, and artifacts from the heads of gators and snakes.

 

But then came the government. With its regulations. And taxes. And health inspectors. And environmental inspectors. And facilities inspectors.  The whole thing got to be too much for this tired hustler with worries over land, money, and family.

Like in poker, you play the hand you’re dealt. In 1968, The Legend of the Loxahatchee was found sprawled face down in the chickee hut, his 12-gauge shotgun a few feet away.

Vince “Trapper” Nelson’s ashes are in the Loxahatchee.  As his friends cast them into the river, a nephew reads the poem, Requiem, that Scotland’s Robert Louis Stevenson wrote for his own epitaph.

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me die.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
   And I laid me down with a will

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
   And the hunter home from the hill.

The camp I visit is intact. It is preserved and protected forever, a tribute to one of America’s last pioneers and his beloved Loxahatchee.

The song of the river ends not at her banks but in the hearts of those who have loved her.

— (Buffalo Joe)

Toni 4/2/17

*header quote: Henry David Thoreau