Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Can Spring Be Far Behind?

These colors illuminate the spanish moss filled leafless trees of winter on the Wacissa River.
Spring mating birds are beginning to return . I saw and heard many gallinules in what we call purple gallinule alley on my Sunday trip. I am like the samaritan woman at the well, in the middle of day. I hide from the puzzling complexities of life out here. Perfect feet for log balancing...

"Oh... geez...watchout, I'm falling! Don't tip me off! I'm losing my balance! Yikes!

He's merely an ibis! What do I care....

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Politics, The Chase, and Courtship

I put in about nine thirty this morning and immediately heard some noises I had never heard before on the river. Snorfling, snorting, screeching, and snuffling. I followed the noises to find otters mating and this fella circling about waiting for a slim chance to become a suitor. Would you turn away a suitor covered in green goo if you were an ottress? The little blue herons are back and he looked dapper in this stance!
The wind was quiet, the mullet were jumping, the light was good, and I was renewed.
Since this is the beginning of mating season, there are many redshouldered hawks on the Wacissa.
I've had some unpleasant political arguments with a few friends and relatives, as of late and I thought the river would be a respite from this....ha! Guess who he's voting for? I think this is my long lost brother, Apollo. His boat matches mine and we like the same politicians!
I heard the baying of hounds this morning which usually means a deer is about to cross the river to make a getaway. Splash! Over my shoulder from the eastern bank, north of Blue Spring...
This beagle was a ways behind the deer. He turned around after sniffing the air and decided to return to the eastern bank. Prize beagle with a tracking collar! Friend of the King of Dogs???

I should warn Wacissa wannabes that the river often is visited by silver UFO's which flash and hover over the water, such as this one. If you come back from the river smelling fishy, you have probably been abducted by aliens who have done unspeakable experiments on your corporal being with a Budweiser can.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Biking Lafayette Heritage Trail

Sunday, I decided to go mountain biking along the Lafayette Heritage Trail which runs through PineyZ park. I am charmed with this park, its biking and hiking trails, and its seven fishing fingers on PineyZ Lake. This is a shot of the eastern side of the lake where I got off my mountain bike to walk the deer trail along the spongy bank.

This alligator was sunning on one of the islands near the sixth fishing finger. He appeared to be about nine or ten feet long! Really a behemoth! I would not want to run into him while kayaking!
This is what a live oak hammock looks like for those of you who are unfamiliar with live oaks.

This osprey may be the mate to the one sitting atop her nest in the middle of the lake.
These are flowers gracing the edges of the bike trail.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Saturday Brunch

I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

There are lots of small birds in the trees along the Wacissa River this time of year. I don't know them all so I hope someone will ID them for me.

This day was lovely for kayaking. The sun was out, the river smelled like turtles, and only one airboat went downriver while I was out in the morning. I saw an alligator at Blue Spring, I dodged the tussocks, and I didn't find any ivorybill woodpeckers. But I'll find one someday!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Building Creative Communities Weekend

The only woodpecker I saw this weekend was on this Colquitt mural!
A quartet of actresses from the Swamp Gravy production.
Even the centerpieces were creative!

This past weekend I participated in a workshop in Colquitt, Georgia called Building Creative Communities. This workshop was designed to showcase the community development which Colquitt has accomplished through arts. I was invited by the Department of English at FSU ( and thank you all so much for a much needed infusion of rest, creative stimulation, and inspiration). The rejuvenation of Colquitt Georgia was spearheaded by Joy Jinks, a MSW graduate of FSU and a Miller County mover and shaker, along with Karen Kimbrell.

They have successfully endeavored to unite and enrich a south Georgia town through the production of a Community Performance called Swamp Gravy which was originally written by playwright Jo Carson and produced and directed by Dr. Richard Geer. The town is studded with spectacular murals; bustling commerce, and a sense that people can live in community and harmony despite their differences. Swamp Gravy is now the official Georgia folklife play and features 80 or more rotating actors and actresses from the community who tell their stories which are woven into an amazing play. That was also what we did as a conference group during the weekend, along with a number of other creative activities.

I also made lots of new friends and I was especially delighted to meet Aaron Myers, who wrote and produced a documentary for NPR entitled "The Life and Times of Zora Neale Hurston." He is legendary among the folklore grad students and I had held him in my mind as a standard to which I am aspiring as a grad student in folklore. Over dinner, I saw something in one of HLG's paintings which puzzled this city gal, and Aaron explained to me what a "bucket roller" was. He had played with them in his rural community growing up near Weewahitchka. Aaron is someone to watch and I predict he will be much more famous as the years go by as a writer, producer and director in the arts.

We both also enjoyed the paintings of Henry Lee Gorham which were on display at the Tarrer Inn. Henry Lee is my new favorite painter and as soon as I can I am going to visit his studio in McRae Georgia. I think Henry Lee is the most exciting folklife painter in the country at this time.

In our play I told the story of my grandmother Velma Lyon which I told my son to illuminate what his great-grandmother was like. We called it "Butterflies." It was chosen to be one of the stories we wove into our performance. I also played with my good friend Aaron McNeece who is the Dean of the Social Work College, who wrote a planxty for a recently deceased faculty member, Wendy Crook. It is a lovely tune and it honors Wendy aptly. We did it for his story, which was also one of the six we wove into our community performance.

I can now get back to my ethnographic study of Ida Goodson and the paper I am writing about Ida with lots of good tips on gathering stories from the brilliant Jo Carson. I am also transcribing my grandmother's diary from when she was about sixteen to create a paper and I am going to write Mark's story as it unfolds. Mark's tangled estate has been challenging and not a little disturbing thus far, but I am determined to get through the probate for him because I want to know his story and to tell it and to understand his fascinating but difficult life. More on that later.