My grief, quoth I, is called Ignorance,
Which makes me differ little from a brute,
For animals are led by nature's lore,
Their seeming science is but custom's fruit;
When they are hurt they have a sense of pain,
But want the sense to cure themselves again.
And ever since this grief did me oppress,
Instinct of nature is my chiefest guide.
I feel disease, yet know not what I ail,
I find a sore, but can no salve provide;
I hungry am, yet cannot seek for food,
Because I know not what is bad or good...
...Great Alexander made so great account,
Of Knowledge, that he oftentimes would say,
That he to Aristotle was more bound
For Knowledge, upon which Death could not prey,
Than to his father Phillip for his life,
Which was uncertain, irksome, full of strife....
--from "A Dream" by Rachel Speght, 1621--
I did not take the picture of Micah with the gull. I think it was taken by either my son or daughter-in-law, who e-mailed it to me this week. I forgot to ask who the photographer was. It's a spectacular picture, either way. He looks like he is so close to it that he could hop on and take flight with the bird. Things have a way of fooling adults, who really should know better. My grandmother (dad's mom) was reported to say that babies know everything there is to know about heaven and earth until the moment they say the word "rock." After that moment, they have to relearn everything they have forgotten. I'm not sure where Grandma's theory of learning originated. Maybe it's a fusion of the Platonic versus Aristotelian theories, the nature versus nurture debate that has been going on for centuries and can be found in religious as well as secular writings.
Do not be fooled into thinking this beautiful red plant is harmless. TC (The Write Gardener) knows exactly what it is from experience. His tabula, if it ever was rasa, now contains a lot of writing about this plant since first becoming acquainted with it.
Hubby and I spent a lot of time outdoors this past weekend in Southern Illinois. Kinkaid Lake near Murphysboro, Illinois, holds a lot of memories for us. We used to take a boat to this part of the lake and dive for little trinkets, sometimes even finding gold rings and other jewelry. Young people--usually inebriated--are known to congregate in this part of the lake during the hot summer months and sometimes shed more than just their jewelry. This picture of the dam and spillway makes the spot look fairly harmless, at least this time of year. Probably after today, the dry side of the dam will look anything but dry. It has been raining steadily all day, and it doesn't take long for the lake to fill up from the surrounding hillside runoff.
When we lived nearby, there were frequent reports of slips, falls, broken limbs, and even drownings in the lake and particularly on or around the spillway.
I guess the natural beauty of the area is irresistible to most people who either don't know or choose to forget the natural danger always present there.
Hubby and I picked a good day to explore the spillway. We could choose our path on the rocks, carefully avoiding the ever-present slippery spots and pools of water.
After climbing up the spillway and crossing the barrier fence at the top, we walked on top of the dam to reach another path that might not seem readily apparent to anyone unfamiliar with the area. The Kinkaid Lake trail is all but forgotten, and it seems to be an intended outcome. Concrete barricades block most access, and signs--if they ever were in place--are no longer available to point the way.
To seasoned hikers and former residents like us, a lack of signage is no problem.
We found the trail and a view of the lake from a bluff high above it.
I thought for a moment that I had found some more gold treasure, but this time it was hidden in the trunk of a tree. The memories must have really been working overtime at this point on our hike. Of course, there is treasure in this fungus, if you care to think of it as a valuable, renewable resource on this planet, slowly doing its work of decomposing living matter.
I guess Hubby felt like he had to prove his youthful vitality after finding the fungus. You will never find moss growing on this rolling stone. Maybe fungus, though. We all have it in our bodies in some form or other. Lovely thought, hmm?
The day after visiting Kinkaid Lake, we took a shorter walk at Rend Lake and found this sign greeting us at the beginning of the bike trail. We have been warned, and now we know what that little sign on the trail we saw earlier this year was all about. I like to think that knowledge is power and a way for the imagination to take flight.
Seagulls, as you know, never falter, never stall. To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor. But Jonathan Livingston Seagull, unashamed, stretching his wings again in that trembling hard curve--slowing, slowing, and stalling once more--was no ordinary bird. Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight--how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly. This kind of thinking, he found, is not the way to make one's self popular with other birds...