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All the Beautiful Creatures

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Floating around North Bend, taking in the sights. Imagine having been born and raised on a chunk of basalt in the middle of the Atlantic. What you know is the sea, the forest in the highlands; how to pick up and carry a lost shearwater back to the ocean--these are just some of the things Oscar knows. And here he is, plunked down in the middle of a large freshwater lake in Ohio, with all the wildlife that goes with that--turtles and dragonflies and deer and woodpeckers (what are those?!) and herons and hawks. Oscar got very excited when he spotted a juvenile redtail, keening for its parents.

Aguila! Well, not quite. But pretty impressive, if a bit whiney.

A northern water snake made its leisurely way along the shore. There's a glint in the eye of those snakes that tells you not to mess with them. You do, they'll come after ya. Got a vengeful streak.

A green heron, looking like a Balinesian god, teed up on a stump.

I thought back to the July day in 2014 I had an audience with a little family at North Bend. Oh, what a day that was. Here's a freshly fledged babe peeking out at me, all toes and curiosity.

Today would be more for people shots.

The eastern pondhawk posed nicely.

As did the eastern amberwing. Halloween pennants are common here as well, but I didn't catch one on this trip.

 There isn't much that's fast enough to grab a dragonfly, but flycatchers like the eastern kingbird specialize in it.

I was thrilled to see this kingbird return with one for her orange-mawed babies.

 Kind of a scratchy crackly mouthful, I'd wager, but the nestling was up for it. Mmmrf!

After lunch, she settled down to shade her panting children from the midday sun. Thanks, Mama.

 Eastern kingbirds are so tuff they sometimes build their nests right out in the open, as here, relying on their watchful ferocity to protect their young from any aerial predator that might try something. Tyrannus tyrannus is well named. A kingbird will ride a crow or hawk, punching holes in it, for just crossing the airspace near their nest.

A tangle of monofilament provided inspiration and perhaps a base for these kingbirds to place their low-hanging nest. It was at eye level for me in a kayak!

 Like it or not, he's there, and he's going to make it work. (You can tell he's a male by the white, not grayish, chest. Both male and female incubate).

Go ahead. Take my picture. 
We drifted past whitetails just resting and feeding. The deer at North Bend have an understanding with boaters, and can be freely observed from cars, as well. It's really nice to be able to see them unconcerned and behaving as they would were you not watching.

I hate to use a tired word like "magical" on this, one of my spirit places, but it is. There's always something special going on on its waters, in the skyspace, or in the surrounding forest. North Bend heals me. 

And the little town of Harrisville is such a treat. Here's a tiny cottage with a Gothic touch. I so wished I could go inside and see if the kitchen was as unchanged as the exterior!

We looked for the post office, a nice early 60's box of metal, brick and glass (probably mint green inside, too)

and found the courthouse, quite a fancy one. We were tourists in this quiet little town.

We got noseprints all over the glass at Berdine's Five and Dime. It's chock-full of little stuff you can't find anywhere else. How we wished we'd come by when it was open.

But the greater treasure was up in the porch eave as Shila indicates in this photo. Musta been Sadie Hawkins day, because here's a male mourning dove tending a nest.  I suspect this to be a robin nest that the doves took over, to which they added some flimsy plant material. Wise move, doves. It's not a typical mourning dove location, but they're flexible birds.

Pretty sweet, to see him there with us just below, and the old sign and some forgotten Christmas lights hanging.  

It had been a beautiful day. We'd shown Oscar some of the best of West Virginia, thanks to North Bend Outfitters and lovely little Harrisville. It had been a stress-free getaway into quiet waters.

 Dinner in Marietta (House of Wines, outdoors, of course!) capped a perfect day. Here's to good days, and love, and breathtaking beauty in the ordinary. You just have to watch for those moments.


In the wake of such monumental loss and grief, days like the one you described here become a tonic for the soul. Love the last photo of Phoebe and Oscar. The look on her face - you can see that she now carries a sadness with her that will never leave, but hopefully, will get worn down and less jagged with the passing of time. Love to you all and gratitude for sharing this little slice of heaven with all of us.

Posted by Anonymous July 17, 2019 at 5:45 AM

Thanks for sharing this beautiful day with us - makes me sigh with relaxation and with longing for a day on the water. I can't believe how close you can get to all those critters, wonderful! And wonderful to see Phoebe, Oscar, the day, through your eyes.

So good to be hearing ‘your voice’ again, writing regularly hopefully… writing, a journal/diary for oneself, or a blog for all to see, is therapeutic, and we all need more therapy these days… these are trying times!

Lovely halcyon day.

I'm so happy that you and yours had this amazing day on the lake. There is a peace there that is a healing balm, so much needed for all of you. The part about Phoebe trying to rescue the map turtle makes me laugh out loud. Hugs to you all.

Love your pics and descriptions. Being a colorblind dragonfly enthusiasist, I especially liked those shots. So sorry for the rough year you have had.

Love your pictures and comments. Sorry you have had a rough year.

Next time you are in Harrisville you should stop at Arlo's. It is a great antique store. Berdines is such a neat place to visit as well.

Drooling all over this day now that I'm getting caught up on posts. Smiling all the way home after this. Magic indeed :)

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