photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)
Its a mystery to me how summer vanishes before our very eyes. Oh it hasn't yet by any means, but it just began a blink ago; and here it is August in the valley.
This morning the sun found me south of the studio two or three miles, walking the "edges" of the Waterman Creek valley. I had planned on walking the creek, because it is so low that traversing and wading is not a problem right now...we're having another very dry summer here.
This section of the Waterman is embraced in what I'd describe as a "bowl" or "basin". I've walked the creek on this section several times but never explored the edges surrounding it. It was a pleasant surprise when I came upon this small woodland pool on a ridge above the creek. Some Wood Ducks , likely in molt, paddled towards the opposite side of the pool, softly expressing their displeasure or concern. The duckweed gave the pool a soft green blanket; a convenient salad breakfast for the "Woodies".
As I had hoped, the air was still as the sun broke; this always helps with closeup landscape photographs like this...leafy branches hold still for a longer shutter speed.
This image is a bit deceiving, as it is mere feet away from the valley opening below, and this creates a perfect edge habitat for Orioles, Eastern Bluebirds and Field Sparrows. The Field Sparrows were doing that wonderful trill; its a beautiful song and I was so happy they were still present with their notes! Soon many of our birds will be in that transition mode into fall and the familiar favorite songs and calls will be absent until returning next spring. I always regret seeing this transition come.
There are other transitions coming to us here, I won't get into it too much at this moment as I'm going to hold off until I can gather more information. But it involves a "possible" change for our valley and for our personal lives here. A very large (it will be the largest in Iowa) transmission line is applying with the state's utility board to run through our property and across the valley past the Waterman Creek Great Blue Heron rookery. This is a 600kv(+/-) line system to cross the entire state and into Illinois...it will cross 16 counties "if" it is approved, and it will be carried by 200-240 foot lattice work towers.
We aren't really the masters of our destiny as we so often find out. And this isn't written in stone yet. We have joined forces with an association of landowners to do our best to see that this does not happen, and hopefully 16 counties worth of landowners will find a voice to prevent it...but this will be a shadow for a couple years or more before we know what is happening, or not happening. This has been a unfortunate interruption to the creative flow of work here at the studio, needless to say. I am now doing my best to direct research and followup time for this specter, to a smaller part of my day, trying to keep things in perspective. I am hoping to stay out of its shadow and into the sunlight so I can still create and enjoy this beautiful gift we have treasured since coming here 11 years ago.
I will write a little more in depth about this soon...in the meantime it is August - grab summer by the collar before it s gone!