Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

The Crooners, Brats and The Happy Couple

Carriage Road Eastern Cottontail

Tufa Terrace Trail Juvenile Blue Jay

Hot Springs Mountain Trail Juvenile Carolina Wren

Arlington Lawn Pink Peonies

It is always beautiful after summer rain, refreshing drops feeding the Forest.  Delicate pink peonies are glowing against the green leaves freshened by showers last evening. A gorgeous morning bouquet as I enter the park.  As I head up the Tufa Terrace a vibrant Male Cardinal is singing to greet the morning.  As he moved among the leaves it shifts the drops of rain on them onto my head.

At the top of the Tufa Terrace I can hear the brats in the Trees ahead of me.  “The Brats” are a flock of Juvenile Blue Jays that have been staying just out of sight for nearly two months.  This morning I am feeling blessed, they decide to bring their Play into the Tree above my head.  Two of the three are mixing it up squawking and preening at one and other. It is so fun to finally have a clear view of them after being taunted by their endless chatter.

When I arrive at the Carriage Road I see the “Happy Couple”, two lovely Eastern Cottontails.  They are grazing on the sweet moist grass in the light peeking through the Trees.  I feel blessed that they allow me to stroll into their world and take photographs.  Even when they hide as other pass by they return to the grass when we are alone. The male is a silvery gray and has heavier fur, the female has 3 nicks in her right ear and reddish fur.  They are a beautiful couple and I hope one day to see their sweet offspring.

I hike up the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails to reach the top of Hot Springs Mountain.  On the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I am struck by the humidity.  It creates a visible haze and coats my body in a light film of moisture, my sunglasses are steaming up each time I try to take a photograph. It is mildly frustrating.

As I am trying to defog my lenses a Carolina Wren lands in a bush next to me and as I try to take it’s photograph I realize it is not just my sunglasses fogging over, so is the eye piece on my camera.  I am guessing on the location of the Wren and using auto focus in the hopes I can get even one decent shot of this sweet juvenile bird.  It’s like hiking in a bathroom with a hot shower running.

When I reach the west side of the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I connect with the Honeysuckle Trail. Unfortunately I encounter trail repairs in progress and head out of the park on the Floral Trail to  move away from the sound of a tractor engine.  For now I will complain about the noise but be happy they did the work when the trails are still passable after the next rain.

Dance in the rain and delight in the freedom of being outdoors in Nature’s playground.

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