Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Welcome Sound

This past summer, the Hudson Valley was dry and hot.  Ponds disappeared, turning beautiful vistas into tableaux of mud.  Turtles abandoned a log beached in waterless ooze.  Fewer insects meant fewer birds and dragonflies.  A catastrophe, albeit of a minor sort when thought of against the world at large.

On the lake at Innisfree Garden, the lotuses, once abundant, struggled upward and failed to bloom.  Lily pads, lacking water on which to float, perched midair.

At Buttercup Farm, Wappinger Creek was nearly dry, and silence trumped sound.  Odd to think back to springtime, when the crossing was flooded, and we had to take the long way round.  Odd, too, that, by mid-summer, the tree swallows had all but disappeared from the spot where we could count on seeing them swoop past, sometimes almost close enough to touch.

This fall, after two days of soaking rain, we regained the courage to set out.  On the road to Innisfree, we saw the first evidence of hope:  the pond had water now, and the turtles had repossessed their log.  The lake had filled so much the lily pads were submerged, and a great blue heron resumed its fishing spot.

At Buttercup, yellow rumps chirped and flitted in the trees.  Ducks splashed airborne at the sound of footsteps in the leaves.  The hill path was alive with insects, and, best of all, the creek was running again, full tilt.

A welcome sound.


  1. It is so cheering when nature's struggles have a triumphant result. At the mention of Innisfree I had to read again the Yeats poem 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree'. Thank you.

  2. I do love nature rambles, and particularly the ones that tell a story.
    Gorgeous photos too.

  3. This piece reminds us to slow down and observe nature - for it is always changing. Maybe we don't miss the creek sounds until they are gone. Maybe we never had a chance to see water lilies without water!

    I do love the sound of a running creek, and I think this sound is something we are instinctively drawn to. Glad your welcome sounds are back!

    (and I am guessing that you took all these photos, correct, RA?)

  4. A welcome sound, indeed! Refreshing, too, after our record heat in San Diego the past few days.

    Our average rainfall is +/- 9"/year falling mainly in the winter months. We have been in a drought condition for many months and would love to experience some of your Mid-Hudson type rainfalls.

    Failing that, the sight and sound of the rushing water in your video helps to fill the bill.

  5. Dear Raining Acorns,
    your post is very impressing and makes me reflective. It reminds me a bit of Rachel Carson's novel "Silent Spring" (which I read some time ago and which describes the impact of pesticides on nature). I hope so very much that man's greed does not destroy the most important values we and our children have on earth: water, soil and air.

  6. A welcome sound and a lovely one too - thanks for that clip. Your words and images are lovely to contemplate, as always!

    We too have been welcoming the sound of rain here recently. It makes me wonder what sounds are welcome in Haiti now - thankfully those poor beleaguered souls were spared the sounds of the worst of Hurricane Tomas today.

  7. Christine: Welcome, and thank you for writing! The Yeats poem is a lovely one. For those who do not know it--or haven't read it in a while--here it is:

    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 mourning 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.

    Friko: You have taken us along on some wonderful rambles in your beautiful Marches, if only vicariously through your blog, so I am especially pleased to return the favor!

    WOS: Indeed, the photos are mine. I think you are right that the appeal of the sound of a running creek must be instinctive. Fun to watch it, too.

    cybersr: I hope things have cooled down in San Diego. In the meantime, glad to offer up at least the sound and sight of cool water running!

    Britta: How right you are to point up how precious nature's gifts are to us, and how easily they may be lost if we are not vigilant.

    Carol-Ann: Yes, Haiti has had far more than its share of almost unimaginable catastrophes. I would think stillness would be welcome, perhaps a gentle breeze.

  8. I am listening to the plethora of birds chirping in our rubber tree as I write this and the sun is just starting to go down. Listening to your video I am reminded of these lyrics:

    Free fall flow, river flow
    On and on it goes
    Breathe under water 'till the end
    Free fall flow, river flow
    On and on it goes
    Breathe under water 'till the end
    Yes, the river knows

    The Doors

    Lovely piece and great photos RA!

  9. JM: Enjoy seeing where you take this. Yes, indeed, sounds abound, from the creek, onward to The Doors!

  10. Great photos once more. The yellow rumps are abundant in my area, too--they are particularly fond of foraging in the blossoms of the Russian olive bushes.

  11. A thoughtful blog, beautifully illustrated with your photographs. Pleased to see your rainfall repairing the damage.
    Thank you for your lovely message on my blog.
    I have found Megans lastest drawings too. No laptop yet!


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