Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak
"Spacious Skies"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Last Remembrance of Fall

 A lone tree sitting against the blue sky in a field of rusty grass glowed with brilliant colors for the Christmas holidays at Lake Huron in Michigan.  Of course, the snow started falling within an hour of this photo.  There were only moments remaining to see fall colors and all would be covered in white.

Graham Swamp Preserve

The lake at Graham Swamp had a unusual amount of lily pads.  Alligators were lurking on the banks but the view was like a water color painting.

"I hear lake water lapping"

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
By William Butler Yeats 1865–1939

The Unnamed Lake

The Unamed Lake

It sleeps among the thousand hills
Where no man ever trod,
And only nature's music fills
The silences of God.

Great mountains tower above its shore,
Green rushes fringe its brim,
And over its breast for evermore
The wanton breezes skim.

Dark clouds that intercept the sun
Go there in Spring to weep,
And there, when Autumn days are done.
White mists lie down to sleep.

Sunrise and sunset crown with gold
The pinks of ageless stone,
Her winds have thundered from of old -
And storms have set their throne.

No echoes of the world afar
Disturb it night or day,
The sun and shadow, moon and star
Pass and repass for aye.

'Twas in the grey of early dawn,
When first the lake we spied,
And fragments of a cloud were drawn
Half down the mountain side.

Along the shore a heron flew,
And from a speck on high,
That hovered in the deepening blue,
We heard the fish-hawk's cry.

Among the cloud-capt solitudes,
No sound the silence broke,
Save when, in whispers down the woods,
The guardian mountains spoke.

Through tangled brush and dewy brake,
Returning whence we came,
We passed in silence, and the lake
We left without a name.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sugar Mill at Bulow Plantation Ruins

The Sugar Mill ruins has a scenic walking trail a short distance from Bulow Creek.  Bulow's sugar mill, constructed of local "coquina" rock, was the largest mill in East Florida. At the boat slips, flatboats were loaded with barrels of raw sugar and molasses and floated down Bulow Creek to be shipped north. This frontier industry came to an abrupt end at the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. It is surrounded by old oak trees and native habitation of plants and animals.

"Water, Water, Everywhere"


In Flagler County I hiked the Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve trails. It consisted of boardwalks and rustic decks throughout the marshland and Intra Coastal canals.  The land is not dry enough to walk  so long wooden decks were constructed over the marsh and canals.

“Water, water, everywhere
And all the boards did shrink
Water, water everywhere
Nor any drop to drink.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Treebeard of Middle-earth My Protector

Ents are a race of beings in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy world Middle-earth who closely resemble trees. They are similar to the talking trees in folklore around the world. Their name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for giant.  The Ents appear in The Lord of the Rings as ancient shepherds of the forest and allies of the free peoples of Middle-earth during the War of the Ring. The Ent who figures most prominently in the book is Treebeard, the oldest creature in Middle-earth.
"Treebeard and Hobbits" by Tom Loback

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Crooked Little Bird in a Crooked Tree

Hiking the nature trail at Faver Dykes, this bird kept his wings spread as if he was going to launch into flight.  The tall pine tree was lending and its branches had grown crooked in a very unusual way. It remind me of a Mother Goose poem. 
 "There was a crooked man,"
By Mother Goose
There was a crooked man,
and walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
"There was a crooked Bird"
By PL Fallin
There was a crooked bird,
Who flew a crooked mile,
He found a crooked branch against a crooked sky,
He caught a crooked fish, which caught a crooked bug,
And they all lived together in a tall crooked Pine.

The Green Trail at Princess Preserve

 The Green Trail has an old wooden bridge crossing the creek flowing to the Matanzas River. There is a small island, a salt marsh, that the bridge connects to the mainland.  Along the trail were rustic benches surrounded by palms and oak trees with limbs hanging heavily with thick Spanish moss.

The Bridge Builder

by Will Allen Dromgoole 1860-1934

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

Source: Father: An Anthology of Verse (EP Dutton & Company, 1931)
Will Allen Dromgoole was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A prolific author who wrote novels, plays, and more than 8,000 poems, she was the author of the best-selling novel The Island of the Beautiful (1911).

"At the Old Mill" by Voilet Lee, 1873


The Mingus Mill is nestled among trees, but, in its heyday, the mill was surrounded by cleared fields and crops.  The present structure was completed in 1886.  The mill's distinction was its metal turbine, an improvement on the traditional wooden waterwheel that made Mingus Mill one of the most advanced in the Smokies.  A poem by Voilet Lee, written in 1873 is a lovely poetic expession of another grist mill where her "darling" worked.

At the Old Mill
Radiant day is slowly fading,
And the evening calm and still,
Gazing through the oak and willow,
Stoops to kiss the ancient mill.
Listen to the damsel dancing
To the jig of feed and flour,
And the water-wheel revolving
With a dashing, constant power.
There is music in the rattle
Of the tinkling wheat that falls,
In the hopper, as the miller
Stops to heed the gristman’s calls.
Yes, I love this shaded building,
Love the flowing stream and flowers,
Love to hear the busy clatter
On the lingering summer hours.
More than all, I love the miller,
For his sake, I love the rest;
Of this world and its enchantments
I adore him the best.
Of these twilights I would weary
If his voice came not to cheer.
And this mill – life would grow dreary
If my darling was not here.

Violet Lee, 1873

Bella Vista Trail, Washington Oaks State Park

We hiked down the old historic A1A highway that cut across The Bella Vista Trail.  The trail leads you along a white-blazed Timucuan Loop through a shady maritime hammock of red bay, southern magnolia, and cabbage palms. The patchwork of habitats along this 1.8 mile loop, includes coastal scrub and the northernmost extent of mangroves along the fringe of the Matanzas River. There were a lot of colorful leaves that had fallen in December.  Florida's fall is typically in December when the new growth pushes the old leaves. Some trees still had brillant orange leaves.

Albert the Alligator Swamp Talk

The cigar-chomping Albert is as extroverted and garrulous as Pogo is modest and unassuming. Even though Albert has been known to take advantage of Pogo's generosity, he is ferociously loyal to Pogo and will, in quieter moments, be found scrubbing him in the tub or cutting his hair.

Looking for Pogo

Swamp at John P. Hall Nature Preserve on White Trail in Green Cove Springs.  This was the only interesting scene on the trail.  The trail consisted of mostly sparse pine trees and muddy in certain areas. Pogo and his friends would have liked the swamp.