Sunday, March 13, 2005

Beside the River Styx....

It was impossible to stay inside on such a lovely morning so I decided to go stand beside some moving water and take in the sights and sounds of Spring. I grabbed my fly rod, tied on my favorite olive green muddler, and ran up the road to the River Styx.

The River Styx drains swampy woodlands fringing the northern reaches of Orange Lake. The "Cross Creek Road" crosses the river here, just a couple of miles north of our home. I stood on the bridge in the early morning breeze and watched the black water curl by the pilings and meander through the cypress and tupelo trees and emergent vegetation. I cast and jigged the fly along the edges of the open water hoping for a redbelly or a bass to rise, to no avail.

Next I headed east to a nearby longleaf pine plantation known to our circle of friends as "the clearcut". I spent nearly an hour wading through thigh-high blackberries between the broad rows of 15-foot saplings and among the old stumps and "lighter knots" of the previously harvested longleaf stand. Lots of birds were there. I listened to a particularly persistant vireo and was able to call in a ruby-crowned kinglet, a yellow-rumped warbler, and a large sparrow I could not identify. Off in the woods I heard the notes and songs of blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, and a lone mockingbird. While walking I startled a group of thrashers that were rummaging through the leaves beneath a sand live-oak.

I found a few shards of broken "Hurdy cups" - red clay vessels used in former times to collect pitch for the naval stores industry.

It was good to wander alone for a time with just my thoughts and footfalls to intrude upon the world around.

The reverie didn't last long. The White Cat Cotton brought a tiny wild bunny onto the screened porch and proceeded to make it scream. We've rescued the poor thing, which appears unhurt. Its no bigger than a tennis ball. Our other rabbit is as big as a tomcat, and is just as fierce.

The Clog-Wife calls Cotton "wicked thing" now, and vows to never have a cat again. I might get back into the business of managing some bird feeders in the yard should that day ever come. But we'll have to reckon with The Black Cat Buffalo in the meantime.

5:00 p.m. Wild Bunny update....
The little rabbit is comfortably 'sconced in a cardboard box recently used to send me an antique carved Ainu bear purchased on The bunny-box occupies my side of the bed. Will I be allowed to occupy my side of the bed tonight? Only time and the Clog-Wife will tell....

The Clog-Wife was born in the year of the rabbit, by the Chinese calendar's reckoning, and was born on a "rabbit day" as well. She is in love with the new addition to the menagerie. In her words: "this rabbit has come to me and I must care for it and love it." So now begin the preparations to give a home to another fledgeling creature that is the object of her tender affection.

Current head-count: 2 cats (Cotton and Buffalo), her beloved 3-legged tri-color Welsh Corgi (Fergus Fodderwing), and 2 rabbits (Bun-Bun, and the new one not named yet).

God love her, tender soul.

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