Swamps and Sunsets

Pausing at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge outside Decatur, Alabama (That clarifier of the State is necessary since there are 17 cities and/or 46 communities in America that go by that name, all named for one Stephen Decatur, a naval hero of Barbary-pirate and War-of-1812 vintage. Funnily, I don’t need to specify the country: As far as I know, there are no Canadian communities named Decatur.), anyway, as I said, pausing at Wheeler (Named for General [Fightin’ Joe] Wheeler of Confederate vintage, also little recognized in Canada.), anyway, pausing to see if there were any sandhill cranes still hanging about, I took a brief out-and-back walk on a boardwalk through cypress swamp (after sighting 32 said cranes at a considerable distance).

Anyway, my walk was brief because even on blue-sky days cypress swamps give me the creeps, a little bit. (I think it’s all that dark water. Anything could be under the surface and probably is.) Brief also because it was a grey day, which did not add to the charm of that water.

But the day was not yet done, and its ending view more thanΒ  compensated for the icky swamp.

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12 Responses to Swamps and Sunsets

  1. Jim Robertson says:

    There’s a different Wheeler recognized in Canada – Wheeler’s Pancake House (and Sugar Bush) in McDonald’s Corners an hour and a bit from home

    Nice to see the Sandhill Cranes, no young ones around I guess.

    Good to see you weren’t driving and taking that nice sunset shot

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – πŸ™‚ Yeah, Fightin’ Joe doesn’t seem like a patriarch for a sugar-bush restaurant. Maybe a cousin. As for young cranes, I guess they nest up North somewhere. None seem to reside here.

  2. Judith Umbach says:

    You have made the icky spectacular!

  3. Sandhill cranes have a demure air, as though nuns in slightly jaunty habits had wandered out of their cloister into broader meadows. Surely, the folded hands are hidden under those grey capes.

    Tropical swamps that innocently reflect the light sky and upper branches of the cypress are the perfect metaphor for deception.

    I would like to think that all of our rear views in the side mirrors of life would seem so glorious!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – The nun image captures sandhill cranes well, I think: Demure is le mot juste. They move majestically, with all the motion confined to their feet and legs, their quadruped-like bodies just along for the ride. Glad you like the rear-view photo – they’re a good way to pass interminable miles.

  4. Alison Uhrbach says:

    I LOVE sandhill cranes! Saw the first in my life 3 years ago while driving through Ontario – but have found them MANY times since in Alberta. I’m not sure if I just didn’t know what I was looking for before then?? I love to hear them (often I hear them before I see them) and I can hardly wait until they start their migration North, so that I can see them again.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – Interesting. The first time I saw them (in metro Phoenix – more metro than Phoenix) I was out on a walk for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I turned around and saw a herd of deer in a field. No, they were great blues. No — after my brain had exhausted the only two patterns it could possibly apply — I didn’t know what they were. Exciting! So I can believe that you almost have to have seen them, to see them.

      • Alison Uhrbach says:

        I feel better, we see the same – I thought they were deer in a field the first time I saw them as well, haha

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          Alison – πŸ™‚ And why not? About the right body shape, a plausible colour, with their heads down, feeding. Just not quite enough legs . . .

  5. Tom Watson says:

    Thanks for the history lesson about Decatur…and for the beautiful pictures.

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