Thursday, June 01, 2006

Memorial Day adventure

My husband said his favorite part of the whole thing was the sight of me standing in the pouring rain, looking like a drowned rat, holding a dead fish in one hand and a large feather in the other...

Sorry I haven't written in a while. While I've gotten a lot of orders from the BH&G blurb about my soaps*, it hasn't been so overwhelming that I couldn't blog.

But that, in combination with many other things - volunteer commitments, planning for fall products, trying to screw up yet another veggie garden, a pressing Pride and Prejudice kick... well, all of it has added up to no time left to spend here.

After a period of so much rain that we couldn't get the garden in, it turned dry, dry, dry. The creek was down to the perfect level for wading, though.

Off we went in our old tennis shoes, and me in my floppy straw hat. The water was chilling at first, but before long I was edging towards the deeper spots, to cool my knees. (A few weeks earlier I'd tried to wade barefoot, but quickly realized I'd become a miserable old tenderfoot.)

There were many delights. We heard an Acadian Flycatcher in the branches above the creek - a new yard bird!** Found a few little red-rock fossils. Almost stepped on the perfectly intact shed exoskeleton of the largest crawdad we'd ever seen.*** Wild hydrangeas were in peak bloom at the creek's edge. (So many flowering things love edge. Why hadn't I brought the camera?!) Picked up a long feather from a Red-shouldered hawk in the pebbles near a clearing (he was probably doing some crawdad examinations too).

We heard distant thunder. There had already been a brief shower that afternoon. We spoke of turning back, but didn't. The bridge was the goal, and we hadn't reached it yet.

Despite the low creek level, tiny fish were everywhere, sometimes swimming right through our legs. I wished again for my camera - the footing wasn't as slippery as I'd feared it would be. We began to spot iridescent purple and green fish!

"I wish we could catch one," I said. "I'd take it back and get a picture." Two minutes later we saw one shining from the bottom of a deeper pool, on its side and clearly not doing very well.

After a little irrationality (had I wished it dead?) and a little panic (it didn't look ill - was the water that polluted?), I picked it up to carry back. It hadn't been dead long, but still I really wished I'd brought a baggie.

The thunder sounded closer. We had to turn back. The louder the thunder, the faster we slogged. Our feet sank deep into the sand. Grit seeped into our shoes.

It started raining.

As we reached the spot to climb onto the bank, the most active part of the storm seemed directly overhead. The thunder was incredibly loud, and lightning flashed much too close for comfort. We decided to wait it out there in the low area, rather than making a dash for home that would leave us exposed in the open too long.

It rained harder. And harder. I'd recently discovered that a floppy straw hat was better than a baseball cap at keeping gnats away from the face, but for keeping rain off of glasses it wasn't doing much good.

It is a constant comfort to me though, in times like those, that I'm able to say, "At least it's not as bad as that pelagic trip." I may have been soaked to the skin in a lightning storm... I may have been rediscovering just how unbelievably cold rain can be on such a hot day... but at least I wasn't seasick too. And, we'd seen some birds, which was more than I could say for that worst-day-of-my-life-and-we-didn't-even-see-any-birds deep sea birdwatching trip. Oh, and I wasn't hallucinating from an overdose of Dramamine either.

I was glad I hadn't brought my camera.

Even though I failed to get a better picture than this.

* Everyone who's phoned their order in has called it my ad. I can only imagine that the cost of advertising in Better Homes and Gardens must equal that of buying several new cars. Hubby laughs and says I should tell them, "That's not an ad, that's a glowing endorsement!"

** We're kind of liberal in what we consider "the yard".

*** It was perfectly intact until I tried to pick it up, at which point it broke into several pieces. It was so large that I could not have contained it in my palm.


Hick said...

So glad you are back. I miss your postings...and this one was exceptional.

Jenn said...

Huh. Don't know what that fish is. Strange. DO you think somebody dumped their fishtank into the stream?

Good to hear from you, by the way. I'm glad you are getting some downtime amidst all the busy.

pablo said...

Wonderful narrative. These misadventures always make the best tales. I hope you've reached a point where you are able to make an occasional post. I've missed you.

happy and blue 2 said...

Glad you found time to post.
Did you try giving the fish mouth to mouth. Sometimes you can save them..

Janet said...

Neat little fish! Glad you found the time to share!

Clare said...

YaY!!!! Rurality's back!!! Missed you. What species of fish is it?

Mouth to mouth with a fish? Do you need to take mouthfulls of water while doing that Happy and Blue2?

gnumoon said...

YAY! You're back. I've missed your posts.
Any new action on the gamecam? All the critters are out in droves up here in the mountains. We've seen bobcats, snakes (BlueRidgeBlogger saw a Timber Rattler even), turkeys, owls, etc.
anyway, glad you're back.

gtr said...

Yay! Welcome back! Good to have subtle adventures and record them to share, or even to just fully enjoy your own experience!

Ron Sullivan said...

Nice to see you back, congrats on the manageable but noticeable volume of new orders, and here's a Gold Star for Lede of the Week. My, that did tickle the imagination!

Floridacracker said...

At last.

KFarmer said...

Happy to hear you made it safely through all your adventures :)

Ericka said...

yay - you're back! missed you.

mouth to mouth? hmm. well, the visual makes me happy. when i was a kid, and still willing to fish, my dad would have me gently pull struggling fish backwards through the water. in theory, this helped them breathe by sending more water through the gills. now i wonder if it wasn't something like trying to breathe in a windstorm - when there's so much air buffeting you that you can't get a breathe. poor fishies.

at any rate, sounds like a good walk. i'm surprised jasmine didn't help you with that feather.

yllstonewolf said...

it is so nice to see you back. love your story of wading and everything you found. i've been in that 'up to your a** is water when the lightening starts' kinda place myself. yikes! redtail hawk feather...lucky!

chiefbiscuit said...

I loved the beginning and the ending to this 'story' - which is more an account, I know. But it does read like a story ...
Of course I liked the bits in the middle too!
(Your husband sounds as if he's got the same kind of humour as my husband.)

threecollie said...

Do you know what kind of fish the little critter is?

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robin andrea said...

Hey, you posted! I've been out of town, and not looking at all of my favorite blogs. It is so good to read of your rain-soaked adventure. It sounds like a wonderful day. It really does!! Welcome back. I've missed your voice.

Rachel said...

Wow, what an adventure in the storm! Cute little dead fish. Send it to H&B2 and see if he can revive the poor thing! Ha!

Rurality said...

I just realized that I forgot to say, "Thanks, everybody!"