Saturday, August 31, 2013

Goodbye, August


All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer

— one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going

— one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”  
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ramblings


When we were driving through Cade's Cove in the Smoky Mountain National Park, we saw a pair of bucks that were amazing.  Unfortunately, they refused to pose for me, so I'm sorry for the quality of the photo.  I was a long way from them and they kept hiding from me. I wasn't able to get of shot of them together.


It was a cool day on the mountain top where I was standing when I shot this photo.  We have had our first week of real summer here in North Alabama, just when summer should be winding down.

 
I hope looking at this cold water tumbling off the mountain will cool you down today.
 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

One Room Schools


Decades after consolidation had obliterated one-room schools, researchers discovered their advantages. The child in the small school is not just a statistic on a government chart. She receives "individual attention and recognition." She works at her own pace. She has, most important, a place.
 

 
As Mr. Jonathan Zimmerman remarks, recent alternatives to "the large, alienating modern school," from charter schools to homeschooling, have sought to foster "the snug, communal aspects of the one-room school."
                                                                       ~Bill Kauffman


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Butterflies


Long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue;


Before the United States of America formed her boundaries;


Before courageous settlers moved into these mountainous areas;


Before John Oliver and his sons cut the first trees for their cabin;

 
These mountain meadows were alive and beautiful
 


with butterflies feasting on iron weed

 
 and jewel weed

 
 

and Queen of the Meadow.


 
I'm glad they stayed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bears

 
When we first entered Cade's Cove last week, we saw wild turkeys everywhere.  We saw deer running in the meadows, but no bears.  We stopped at the visitor's center and talked to some other folks who were also looking for bears.  The ranger told us to look for the wild cherry trees, because that's where the bears would be.
 



Not much later, when we were stopped to admire some butterflies, some people came by and told us there were bears ahead.  It was easy to find them; there were several cars lined up along the roadside.


 
I was amazed at the way they would break the branches on the trees and drag the cherries closer to them.  These were not full grown bears, but they certainly were not cubs, either.



 
One of them got full and came down from the trees.  I have never seen people move so fast when it started down the tree. The bear basically ignored all of us, paused for a cherry-filled dump, then ambled off into a meadow.
 












It was fun watching them, and they were not nearly as loud as those howler monkeys! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Smoky Mountains




Hundreds of years ago, when Europeans arrived in the area that is now Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina, the noble Cherokee living there already had a name for the mountains: Sha-co-na-qe, meaning "land of blue smoke."



 
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, and the Cades Cove loop road is the most visited feature of the park.  I was there last week. 






 I have been to Cade's Cove many, many times, and it never fails to take my breath away.  This cove has a diversity of flora and fauna unlike any other place I have been.  Most likely, you will see some of it here later this week.