Monday, July 5, 2010


click on photos to enlarge
Ever hear Kate Smith sing God Bless America?  If not;  Google it on U Tube.   The picture above reminds me of her rendition of that great song.  So does the picture below, for that matter.
Ah;  Canoes----A means of travel where the mind and thoughts can actually supersede the speed of the vehicle.
 If you need to figure something out, or the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders;  dwell on it while paddling a canoe.
Your focus on the issues will be centralized and the thought process will be more pleasurable and regimented.  There will be no cars passing you or motorcycles crossing the double line approaching in your lane.
Canoes are a satisfying, pleasurable way to move about on a body of water.  They slow things down.  They permit one to not only look, but see.  They allow the brain to think at a pace conducive to thought organization.  Not all people need that assistance but, I seem to be one of those people who are "rational thought " challenged at times.  Canoe's slow the world down, and in doing so also, create a calming effect  to the paddler.
 The Ghenoee (motor boat) is still in the shop and the big lakes are full of boats this last day I have off.  Although I was just at Indian Boundary Lake two days ago;  I needed to be in the canoe yet again.  today, Monday, finds Happy and I back on Indian Boundary.  I anticipated a huge tourist presence at the lake so I brought Happy, as she sticks close to me.  Douglas requires larger areas to roam in and he will walk right up to anyone for a scratch behind the ear.  Problem is that everyone isn't a dog lover.
Look carefully at the photo above.  The clouds are reflected perfectly in the water.  The day is picture perfect.  The sky's are brilliant blue with pearl white cumulus clouds sitting in stately poses, unmoving and maintaining their form as if to say, "take my picture" to every tourist caring enough to look up at them.
A very gentle breeze is wafting across the lake intermittently.  It is so gentle that the canoe is totally unaffected by it.  At times it can barely be felt but, it is welcome on this very hot day.
I needed to get Happy out of the sun.  She was lying under the center seat of the canoe for shade.  My Pelican camera box was on top the seat providing shade for her.  We'd go ashore at a little peninsula of land just ahead.
A couple of beautiful Cyprus trees were along this shoreline.  I suspect they were planted here as they are not indigenous to this man made lake.  My friend Paul pointed them out to me on a earlier Winter visit to this spot.  Their roots protrude from the ground and are called knees.  This is a gorgeous tree and I'm glad they are here.
Below;  a view up into the Cyprus tree.
The Cyprus knees are an oddity, especially to a person from the North.  But, no one asks about them.  No one sees them.  People lumber down the trail that skirts past this tree and don't see a thing accept the asphalt trail before them.  In their case they aren't even looking let alone seeing anything.  The main question I got asked today while on land was "how far are we from the parking lot?"   I was asked that question three times.  I wanted to grab one guy staring at his Blackberry while briskly walking past this tree by the neck and drag him over to the  Cypress knees and say,   "do you have any idea what I'm showing you?  Do you?  Have you ever seen them before?   Do you care?"   But, I acted civilized and ignored him.  He's really in New York City even though he is walking along this pristine lake here in Tennessee.  And why is it that tourists always look so bland or totally red like a lobster.  They congregate in large numbers on the beach area and will not venture further than their car, only to return with more beverage for their coolers.  They purposefully lay near naked in the sun acquiring an over cooked appearance to their flesh.  I'll never understand it.
Oh;  I almost forgot.  The Cyprus knees are below: 
Then I became interested in the Dragonflies that were flitting about.  I saw the large mammoth size fly that I noticed two days ago and decided to try to film it.  That species, whatever it is, is a wary bug.  It would not land near to me.  But, there were other species.  I got an idea to try to photograph a Dragonfly while on the wing.  They are more difficult to photograph in flight than birds.  It's true.  Watch them and imagine you are trying to photograph one as it soars through the air making split microsecond alterations in direction.  Whew!  They are fast.
Notice the location of the fly above on the stem.
I found the secret to catching them in flight.  Remember what I always have said.  Don''t only look but, see.  That means observe.  No;  I'm not letting the secret out.  But I think I can photograph any dragonfly in flight from this day on.  See below:
And yet again below:
It's still no easy task but, I have swayed the odds of capturing these guys in flight in my direction.  A few more shots of dragonflies follow:
The big dragonflies appeared and settled on sticks far away out of the sun.  They were difficult to focus on at the rather long distance.
They are a very different fly.  Note the large white splotches on their wings.
OK Happy, we're going.
Happy is a very good swimmer and loves the water but I keep the life jacket on her while in the canoe at all times.  If she falls overboard I can simply grab the handle on the top of the jacket, without leaning out over the side of the canoe, and pick her up and back into the boat.  One learns quickly that it's not ok to lean over the side of a canoe while on the water.
We paddled around the grasses at the top end of the Lake.  This is a beautiful environment to bask in.
Things are shady and quiet back here.  Note below how shallow the water is.
"Yes Happy;  we're going back in there."
This canoe was made for lakes like this.  What a pleasure to skim along care free.  I wish there were more motor-less lakes to explore.
It's the greens that are the most impressive.
I like to explore the little waterways that go back into the woods.  They are nonexistent in the Winter months as the lake is drawn down.
Happy is such a lucky dog.  How many terriers get to take canoe trips.  Not just occasional canoe rides but, numerous weekly all afternoon rides to great wilderness places.  It tears at my heart to know there are sweet dogs that are chained to trees or dog houses and will remain so all their lives.  They will never know anything accept the ten feet around their immediate area and the only human contact when they are fed.  Such a depressing thought.
Happy sees everything.   I really believe that dogs become brighter, smarter and more alert when taken out to the wilderness areas.  It can be seen on their faces and in their eyes.  They deserve that interaction with nature.
You want to see America?  Look at the picture below:

One more stop for Happy and we'll paddle back down the lake.  How time flies.  We've been on the lake for four hours.  It seems like minutes.
Great Scott!  What a view!  We're going to get out of the canoe and just sit a few moments and absorb this sight.
This is a grand place.  Spectacular!
It's been a long, hot day for Happy.  Sweet, dedicated little girl.   She would follow me through fire if I wanted her to.  She is little and yappy at times but, a more dedicated dog there is none.
As we grow closer to the spot where we'll take out the canoe, I look at the tourists stacked up on the beach.  I chuckle at, I don't know what really.  Just a quiet under the breath laugh.  For but an instant they appear as litter upon a pristine field of green.   Just a mental moment.......See you next time