sunday relaxation

South of Beaumont, Texas, on the way to the beach on the Gulf of Mexico, is this little place called High Island, because it is a salt dome bump on the land that is higher than the landscape around it. And there is a Houston Audubon Society site. These roseate spoonbills and cormorants were doing their Sunday things. Check out the bathing beauties in the middle there.

Also relaxing nearby was this alligator who sat so still and so patiently than a dragonfly sat on his head for a little while. The alligator kept hold of that stick in his mouth for a long while, too.

everything is bigger in texas. . .

. . . including fire hydrants? Only this one that is made out of fiberglass or some heavy-duty plastic (we are in the land of petroleum, after all). The Fire Museum of Texas is here in Beaumont. So, add this to the list of large things to see in America, folks.


this is what we saw

Village Creek State Park connects two parts of Big Thicket National Preserve. Village Creek runs through it and then there are these bodies of waters called sloughs, pronounced slew. Yup, that's right.
And then, we came across this red-eared slider, a turtle; she was laying eggs...can you see them in the hole?

alert: man-eating plant!

This is a pitcher plant just standing in the bog, la-di-la, looking pretty, doo-di-dum-dum.

This is a pitcher plant digesting its food. Some greedy, hungry insects were lured by the pitcher plant's prettiness, went down its gullet looking for sweet stuff, and got stuck in it. Revenge is what is sweet, here.


lush greenery . . .

. . . or green lushness; you choose. Village Creek runs through Big Thicket Preserve. Check out all the mostly-unfamiliar-to-us-northerners vegetation.


calming water

On one of today's excusions at Big Thicket National Preserve, we walked down to this, Rush Creek. It's in a ravine, which is unusual in this part of Texas; it's mostly flat in the pineywoods, except where some of the streams have cut their ways as tributaries to the Neches River.

snake alert

At Big Thicket National Preserve, where I am taking a field course on the ecology and natural history of the place, we came across this little-bitty grey rat snake. Nonvenomous, and here's how you can tell: the pupils are round like ours. On poisonous snakes, the pupils are vertical slits. So, although this fellow could—and did—bite, it wasn't harmful.



Southern Louisiana is powered by the oil industry. The highway—Interstate 10—going through Lake Charles is surrounded on both sides with refineries and who-all-knows what else. A place down the road is called Sulfur.

the dead

In areas where the water table is very high, burying people deep in the ground is not easy. This is how the Cajun French Catholics solved that problem.

wet water

According to my little Oxford American Dictionary, which lives under the front seat of my car, bayou means, "a marshy offshoot of a river." What you see here is a bayou. Cypress trees collect sediment between their knees, creating land, while the water moves with gravity, finding the easiest route down, down, down. . .eventually to the Gulf of Mexico from here.



I arrived at Chicot State Park near Ville Platte, Louisiana, to find a welcoming committee of one blind-in-the-right-eye racoon. It was relentless in trying to get me to either feed it or let it into the cabin so that it could find the food itself. A mix of cat and dog and squirrel.

This is Cajun Country for real. Wi-fi is available at all the McDonalds in Louisiana. Here I sit, listening to the old guys who come here for coffee because the local coffee places are no longer (as is true in many parts of the country), listening to Cajun French mixed with English, sometimes. Interesting place, really.

no boating under the influence

Vicksburg, Mississippi, tries very hard to keep the river from the city's streets. The levee wall is high and bleak on the river side; painted with murals on the city side. The river is high.


the river

To see the Mississippi River, I had to cross this, the River Bridge, to Arkansas to see it. So here it is on a rainy day.

fish crow

Crows Talk Different Here
11 inches wide x 14 inches high
collage, ink

In Tennessee, the crows didn't sound like crows. Turns out that they were fish crows, not American crows, hence the different language they cawed.



Live, scary, large, wild alligator. Did I say scary?
And wild. This is not some penned creature; this one lives at Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge, where I was the intruder. And, this one might very well be sitting on her nest. Maybe not, maybe. You tell me.


mississippi river

This is as close as I got to the Mississippi River at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. The road goes to a boat launch on the river, but there's been flooding—this is the last of it—and so the boat launch is closed and HIGH WATER signs are supposed to keep us from going any further. So, being the law-abiding citizen that I am, I didn't.



Almost But Not Quite
11 inches wide x 14 inches high

It's taken me since December to finish this. I think the title says enough.

woods and water

Meeman-Shelby State Forest and Park, in western Tennessee just north of Memphis, sits on the Mississippi River, although you'd never know it being there; the river is unaccessible except for one boat-launching ramp which is currently flooded so really unaccessible. That said, my cabin in the woods is on the shore of a "controlled" lake, a euphemism for a damned stream. Pretty, though.


salute the evening

A tiny place, on Good Night Road, off of US31E, is a by-appointment-only tea house. This building is next door.

tell me what is happening here

When resting, this lizard would put his front legs on his back, as you see here. Isn't that a hoot? Anyone know why?

update on liberty

Turns out that this Statue of Liberty was not one of the Boy Scout ones (see previous post). This one is made of metal, is shorter, and was originally sold with that godawful lamp as a lawn ornament.


liberty for sale

Cave City is a little antique-store-filled metropolis outside of Mammoth Cave National Park. And there, there, was this Statue of Liberty. I'm certain that it is one of those that the Boy Scouts had placed in a number of towns around the country back in the early 1950s....see here. I wonder what place lost theirs?


Hello, there . . .

Is this a Muffler Man welcoming travelers to the Seneca Nation while driving past on New York State's Thruway (I-90) ? Looks like the one up in North Dakota.


water and sky are one

There are times when there is no horizon. Makes one think about the fact that there is only one amount of water in this world, just in different forms. And thinking that way, it follows that water and sky are one.


alternative housing

I don't know where the spider herself was when I came across this wonderful web. She is a fine architect. (The web is more impressive when viewed in a larger version of the photo; click on it to enlarge it.)