We heard from Clay that a beaver had saved a part of the farm by building a dam. In this day of drought, we welcome any partner whose enterprise will help maintain moisture in the country.
Thanks to the beaver, other wildlife benefit from the pond he created with his dam. We saw a flock of fifteen or twenty blackbirds flush from the reeds, and we heard frogs. Nearby, a Northern Harrier buzzed a sandpiper, sending into harried -- yes, pun intended with glee -- screeching.
MyMrMallory and I made our way across bushy country in search of the dam. Here I show some of the images I made as we walked along the countryside.
Salt-resistant grass grows among other hardy plants.
Green, yellow, brown . . .
Colors of autumn.
Tumbleweed, salt cedar, and mesquite grow near a gate.
Dead tree and perch for a Northern harrier.
Ah, reeds! We felt sure upon seeing the reads that we came closer to the beaver dam.
Water! And a sandpiper.
Racoon paw prints along the shore.
We recognized paw prints by other wildlife, such as deer,
coyotes, hogs, birds, and finally those of the beaver.
Following the edge of the water, we expectantly waited to find the dam.
I could reach out to touch one, a Patriot Guard. I could reach out and hug one. I could choose one of twelve to hug. They stood by their bikes ready to answer questions about the Patriot Guard.
"Are you here to recruit us?" I asked. And without hesitation, Inez said, "Oh, yes." Promptly, too, Ted reached into his vest and brought out his PGR card, and handed it to me. "Just go online, join, and email me here to put you on the list."
One doesn't need a motorcycle to join the Patriot Guards. Many members drive their cars to missions to provide support for the riders and other Patriot Guards as they stand with respect, holding the flag, as the procession passes by. One of them told the story that when a reporter asked a Patriot Guard how much it cost to join, the Guard said, "That's what it costs," as he pointed to the flag-draped casket of a fallen soldier. The only requisite to join the organization: Respect for the deceased and their families.
Respect disallows the Westborough church from joining. Their hatred served as the catalyst to found the Patriot Guards. "From something bad emerged something good," my friend Lita said.
Upon the request of the families, the Patriot Guards line the road with flags to show respect for fallen soldiers, firefighters, police, and medical responders. They also greet soldiers returning home.
Old, intriguing, full of character things will make me come to a stop, whip out my iPhone, and snap images just because I love to make images of . . . old things. iPhone photos post-processed in the digital darkroom with Snapseed.
Someday I will return to this building, pull back the branches, and read the text.
Instruments, old and new, VOR radio shown above the Garmin 796.
iPhone 3 photo.
Quite a while passed since I last flew one soul on board, namely me. My flight started out in good company, MyMrMallory. We headed into Shawnee for MyMrMallory to retrieve his helicopter, Mark having repaired it and finished its annual inspection.
On our short flight, we wondered where all the turbulence went; the air felt smooth as silk, having to do with the cooler temperatures of October. The entire flight went smoothly.
We spoke to several control centers, Sheppard three times, Fort Sill, Fort Worth, and Oke City before switching frequencies to Shawnee traffic. Talking on the radio is so much fun. Talking on the radio used to intimidate me, way back long ago, two years now since I started flying around North Texas; but I've grown to appreciate the assistance by the controllers. And the entertainment, too, provided by other doofus pilots saying comical things, or un-professional things. Lo to the un-professional pilot on the radio. Our cockpit drips with snide remarks and giggles. We chuckle because we say the same doofus things sometimes.
Our arrival into Shawnee surprised me for its lack of traffic. Usually we maneuver between helicopters or streams of Civil Air Patrol planes in training. We had the runway all to ourselves.
My landing was not too bad. I struggled a bit trying to make up my mind which rudder to push, and which aeleron to lift, when I finally allowed the plane to fly. On the runway, my wheels squeaked a bit, left one first, then right one, and then the nose came down. I missed a couple of taxiways, but that's because I did not want to press the brakes too hard.
"What?" I said to MyMrMallory, my greatest critic of landings, everyone else's, and most particular his own, as a perfectionist who demands the best from himself.
"Nuh-uh," he said, followed by what sounded like a growl. I might blindfold him next time before I land my Scissortail with him in the right seat.
Out hopped MyMrMallory and went friskily towards Mark's hangar, where the helicopter waited for its flight back home.
As I taxied to runway 17, my radio began to cackle. I stopped, pushed, turned, and pulled buttons, until I figured out the squelch was set too high. Thank God it was a simple solution. I began to taxi again when again I had to stop, for the GPS went blank. Oh, well, I thought, I still have my radios, one of which was set for my destination. I pushed and fiddled and messed with the Garmin, and finally it started up again. Then, doggone, the VOR radio went blank. Maybe my iPhone works at 4,500 feet, but then again, maybe not. Their new map is very bad, I read recently. I thought of looking at my sectional to see which highway or river I could follow home, when, thankfully, the radio came back up.
And there you have it, the thing about flying: Flying provides a joy puntuated with moments of anxiety. The seriousness and complexities of flying make it imperative to develop the discipline to employ the added adrenaline to solve problems. It is discipline that helps you maintain your settings, follow lists, and a level head. The joy of flying far exceeds the difficulty in training for discipline, and that is one destination I would love to reach.
Listen, will you? I think that . . . literature, poetry, music and love make the world go round . . . while mathematics explains things; I fill my life with them, then go walking in snowy woods. Let us go then, you and I like two etherized patients floating through life, together feeling prufrockian. DDB Jr. makes my world go 'round; during his absence, Pachelbel fills it up. One summer I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, then through the Gulf of Finland to reach Saint Petersburg; I pursued Joseph Brodsky in its alley ways. I dream of making that two summers. I read “Biking to Electra;” found my way in a Jaguar car, and glanced at the flashing steel grasshoppers at sunset. I’ll follow K.O.P.’s footsteps after he followed N.Scott Momaday’s; find warmth and inspiration on a rainy mountain. Throw chinese coins for the I Ching. Save the whales, the spotted owl, the woman in toil. Cast a fly for trout; my memories of fly fishing under the sunny blue Colorado sky remain; I yearn to build more . . . with more trophy Browns. Listen for the swan’s calls on the Baltic Sea. Feel KKII's joy, his arms spread wide in Yazilikaya. Good night, Jimmy Durante, where ever you are.