Monday, December 21, 2009

Flaws & All

Adult friendship is something I wrestle with. Those closest to me are busy with families & day-to-day life, as am I. We may only see each other a few times a year, but time together melts away our months apart. Living over 500 miles away from where I grew up has led to many such relationships. We may reminisce some, but soon we are united in the present. Distance dissolves as we share in the bond of our daily struggles & joys. As we confide our heartaches & adventures, laughter abounds.
When I am continually told what I “should do” to “fix” myself I simply hear how broken I am. Friends uplift one another. They guide & reflect when asked, but share a common understanding of love despite imperfections. We commiserate & jest over our foibles. I am embraced for all that I am, not for just parts of me. My faith & my teaching are integral to who I am. Editing them out of conversation is to be someone other than myself. Friends don’t impose their lifestyles on each other. Friends don’t come into my house & tell me to throw things away, nor do I enter theirs & tell them to throw things around…. We accept each other for how we live as well as for who we are. Friends embrace each other for who & where they are, without need to change one another.
What would the holidays be like if shared in the love of friendship?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Moonset On Saluda

We spent the morning decorating inside & chatting with long-distance loved ones blessed with snowfall. I sifted through a years' accumulation of shopping for others before heading out with my brother for the finishing touches. As we drove home, I was awed back into reality by the yellowing crescent moon. The moment we returned home, I scrambled for my tripod to catch a few images before sitting back to watch. The amber moon turned to orange & then rose before it set behind the ridge. Our Heavenly Father is so very good & we are so richly blessed !

Winged Victory?

Viewing random strings of lights can be much like cloud watching. Tom does such a great job with ours. Once, a red lit tree looked like the outline of a cow. Another year, white lights in the same tree seemed an incredibly detailed portrait of an elk. This year, one of our red trees is cause for much speculation. One neighbor sees a giant bow, while her spouse sees a reindeer. I see the bow...but I really see the Greek statue, "Winged Victory of Samothrace"...I love that!...Especially the metaphor !

Lines At Night

I was disappointed when I saw the branches in my nighttime shots of Christmas lights. I didn't like the busy lines interfering with the image. When I looked closely at the branches, I delighted in their warm lines. I reset the tripod taking only pictures of the branches & really like this one.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lights Across the Lake

The folks directly across the lake become "neighbors" this time of year when they illuminate their pine with lights that reach across the water towards us. We reciprocate by adorning the back of our home for them. One of these years, I will make the drive up the hill to their home & introduce myself...who knows, maybe even today.....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Warmth of Light

This time of year, I drive slowly across the bridge on my way home. Across the lake, I can see our welcoming lights. As I turn into the neighborhood, I stop on the ridge. My husband's amazing light display greets me through the forest before I even make it to our street. The trees block some of the color making it somewhat magical & I am all the more anxious to arrive home. A crudely painted nativity scene is poised on our corner as a reminder of why we celebrate. With the newness of salvation on my heart, I pass through the light to our winter retreat.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Candle of Joy

“and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35: 10

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chimes of Change

I awoke the other morning to the Westminster chimes ringing the hour. Tom's mom particularly wanted us to have this treasure of theirs. We have reset the clock & each quarter hour their song transports us to our childhoods... to memories of precious people & times we have known. The same chimes continue the cycle for London, who was brought to us too late to have met the grandparents who bestowed this treasure upon him.
I also awoke to this image, which signals the finality of the season. Winds or animal movement turned on the outside light & I sat mesmerized by the silhouette of foliage in my home. The annuals have been relocated from garden to container & now vie for light in my living room window. Some will make it, while others will not. I have 2 boxes crammed with begonias that have made it through this winter cycle 10 previous times.
As I settle into "the season of lines", reliving distant people & places, it is time to bring out our tree....I suppose I *am* ready for this season to celebrate the birth of our Saviour!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


My son saw him first. He looked out the side window & exclaimed, "There's a dog out there, mom!" Clad in a spiked collar, he was trampling the gardens, but on closer inspection, he appeared awfully thin...It even looked as though his collar was embedded. Cautiously, I went out & he came lumbering straight for me. Any fear melted away into laughter, as I saw his tongue lolling out in goofy glee. He was hand-shy, but sooo wanted to be loved ! Though bigger than Juliette, the enormity of his paws let us know his puppy age.... & he wasn't just wagging his tail, he was wagging fully half of his body. It didn't take him long to muster his courage & come to us. The way he bounds around joyfully, we started calling him Bounder. He instantly answered to it.

We fed him & Tom put out a blanket in the carport. When it went below freezing, London was allowed to bring him in "for the night"...that was over a week ago... We keep asking aloud, "Wherever did you come from?" & ""What are you doing HERE?".
Amazing sense of humor & abounding love, God is ever mindful of us & answers our prayers... even when what we need is simply a temporary distraction. We are under such a stressful time in our lives right now, but God saw fit to send us TONS of sloppy-puppy-kisses & laughter ...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Birthdays in SC

One tradition we enjoy is shooting off fireworks in honor of birthdays. Although my son has been ill, we had to take a few moments to honor his day with pyrotechnics. Though blurry, these hand-held shots are memorable for us. I love the full moon in the shots !

Below, is a father & son conspiracy. Apparently, on a boy's 9th birthday, "he gets to toss his first firecracker pack"....Under duress, I agreed... but I insisted this is ONLY on the actual birthday !!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

After the Rain

We drove out amidst overcast skies & light mist. Hours later, we returned in the tail end of a torrential downpour. Turning onto our street, I noticed the waterfall between the upper & lower ponds was running furiously. As soon as the rain subsided, I headed out to capture the above image. I then headed towards the larger waterfall, where the pond feeds into the lake.

The moment I passed through the forest gate, I could hear the rushing of the falls behind our home. It's surge was distinct, even over the roar of the dam. The absence of leaves makes it easier to get a shot of this, though it required some cliff climbing in the wet forest. Below is an image I think will put things in perspective & cast an idea of its size.

This is the back end of the cove. Out of view to the right are the docks & lake. It is directly behind our home, over a cliff. Except in times of drought, this waterfall can be heard throughout our home. What an amazing blessing God bestowed upon us when He blessed us with this place. So many extras we would never have dreamed to ask for....I am reminded of the scripture, "He knows our needs even before we ask."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Autumn's Last Breath

The last of the autumn color is typically the leather-reds of the oaks. I cherish them with mixed emotions. Days of rain & wind has now sent them cascading to the forest floor. Random patches of color can still be found, but for the most part, autumn's glory has waned to completion. Here in our forest retreat, the lake's surface can now be seen clearly across both the point & peninsula.

Tom & I spent the other night on our deck, watching as a cloud front moved in. We gazed at the moon through the silhouette of a now bare, eye-level oak. Moonlight has an amazing quality in gently overcast skies & we lost ourselves in the mood. It's all good.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Childlike at the Manger

I collect nativity scenes...soon, my house will be adorned with them, even 2 in the bathroom!. They help me stay mindful of the true meaning of Christmas. I accompany many with an empty cross...representing the real message of this season: victory over death & our eternal life with our Creator. "God doesn't cause bad things", nor does he "send people to hell"...these are the cost of free will. I have so many nativity scenes that I have become selective...& have bestowed cherished ones to others, to remind them that a tiny babe, from humble beginnings should be our focus this time of year.
When my son moved up from toy, "Little People" to action figures, I shed more than a few tears. It was such a pivotal baby growing up. For my birthday, Tom surprised me with my very own Little People set...a nativity ! With great glee, I set it out yesterday. I love the simplistic joy on their faces as kings, shepherds & a host of animals have come to stand in awe of our God come to earth. Emanuel, God is with us! I pray for myself & for others, to cherish with childlike awe the newborn Christ...
How many of us would, "go back & do our childhood all over again?"...go through all the pain & growth?....Christ came in full knowledge of what was to come...all the way to the cross on which He bore our sins...seeing each & every one of our faces as He hung dieing. He chose to come...the ultimate gift of God doing everything possible to BRING US TO HIM, & NOT cast us away from Him...but He gave us the will you decide? Where will you go when this lifetime is complete? Our Lord & Creator beckons us all to come into His Kingdom...& spend eternity with Him. It all begins with a tiny baby in a manger.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Hope Candle

Our advent wreath is hung from the ceiling, reminiscent of our church in MD. Yesterday, I made my way through the forest collecting various greens with which to adorn it. I was accompanied by 2 boys on scooters, struggling to keep up in the fallen leaves. Our wreath is the first thing seen upon entering our home, as it hangs above the kitchen island. First, we light the candle of hope. Just what is it that we place our hope in? We place it in Christ's victory over death & in eternal life with our Creator. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16). It is easy to succumb to the stress of the seasons' activities as they strive to overshadow our Savior & Redeemer. Then we find ourselves on Christmas Eve wondering how & when we left the Christ out of Christmas. My Hope & my prayer is that we will ALL be mindful not only of the babe in the manger, but the man on the cross...Without His sacrifice, there would be no Christmas. Without His resurrection, there would be no hope.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Letting in the Light

Many people spent "Black Friday" wrestling with crowds, impatience, & desire. Most of our holiday shopping was accomplished throughout the year & we chose a quiet, yet active, day in our home. We had more of a "spring cleaning" sort of day as we vacuumed under everything that could be overturned or moved. Window seats were cleared, curtains were hung across bookshelves, & area rugs were either tossed or rearranged. Our hibernation retreat feels somehow new & fresh.Our home is small by the standards of many, but it suits us well. It is a rectangle divided in 1/2 with one end as our bath & sleeping quarters. I call the rest of our home, "The Room". Three sides have large windows which radiate forest light, creating a roomy feel.
Separated by a corner island, our kitchen allows the "chef & clean-up staff" to be a part of things. Our computer is next to sliding glass doors, where I look over the lake, & often the setting sun, as I work. Along with the "computer room", this space includes a toy/play room, dining, sitting, library, & office areas, as well as our living room & of course, my art studio. I once had students exclaim, "You must have a huge house!". I replied, "Actually, it is all one just depends on what we are doing in it at the time."
Once again, I arrive at the way one chooses to see. Our streamlined, "new home" now feels much larger than the day before as I prepared food for our holiday meal. The light from the nearly bare forest brightens our home all the more this time of year. Despite the shortened days, it is a time for new light & new beginnings. Fresh flowers, a new collection of fragrances wafting from the glow of candles, & time with family is how we chose to begin our journey towards the winter months.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Grateful Beginnings

The fresh pages of a pristine, new journal fill me with excitement & wonder. Every morning, I write at least 5 things for which I am grateful. The start of a new volume meant Thanksgiving would begin with a list of at least 100. Once outdoors, my eye traveled up through an enveloping fog. Overhead, the sky was clear & alight with dazzling stars. The blessings had already begun for my new list! I watched as the fog slowly receded, finally settling at the treeline. It was amazing!
I chose a new vantage point at the lake. Sitting on a small point between the landing & the burrow, dry grasses surrounded me. Moisture-laden acorns, heavy with condensed fog dropped all around. Save for the still water, it seemed to be raining. The thrush began its morning squabble & the Kingfisher sounded his hunt. Fog accentuates the lines of the forest & I became lost in them. The dawn's soft glow slowly lit up the cloud in which I sat. As I waited for the beaver and the tiny, diving duck to emerge, the morning peace was abruptly broken by the effervescence of a puppy.
Brimming with excitement for a new day, Buddy ran in & out of the lake before bounding across the cover of of my hand-embellished journal. He made several more passes into the water & literally across the pages as I wrote. To my gratitude list, I added, "the muddy paw prints on my journal." They symbolize the enthusiasm of a new journey which each new dawn should evoke.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Night on the Lake

The change of seasons, enhanced by the tools of Man, have broadened our lake view. From my deck, I watch the Great Heron make his dawn & dusk hunting expeditions. The russet leaves amidst the forest cove complement his blue-gray form. More than once, I have headed down to the dock, only to find him standing statuesque on its floating planks. I have also watched the Kingfisher from aloft as he glides gracefully across the glass-like waters. His chattering hunt, always catches my ear, even from this distance.
Lakeside "neighbors" are only apparent 1/2 of the year when their lights shine bright. On still nights, the glassy surface reflects parallel lights, yet the slightest ripples compel them to twinkle as stars. Flowing river currents cause them to reach towards me, as fingers reaching across the lake. Leaning against our railing, I have discerned the glimmering wake of beavers down below.

When one practices the art of '"watching", the night continues to hold treasures in abundance. I meditate on Psalm 91, as I am reminded that the God of the Universe, the Maker of all things, "never slumbers, nor sleeps". He is continuously creating, watching over, & loving us. Selah ! & Amen!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What Teachers Hide

He walked into my art room 2 & 1/2 years ago carrying the myriad of emotions that all elementary students bring as they move up to middle school. When he timidly walked in, I noticed he had no right hand. I looked at him squarely & pronounced, "I'm not going to treat you any different than anyone else so if you ever need me to, you will have to let me know". His countenance both relaxed & grew as he radiated the acceptance I had intended. A connection was forged.
Kind & generous, polite & faith-filled, he is who all parents pray their child will grow to be. His willingness to try new things & especially his tenacity are inspiring!. While others complain of a medium being messy, he would literally be up over his elbow in it, saying, "No, it's o.k. My stub works great for this". He has overcome hurdles in cutting & even in weaving. I often say things like, "Do you need a hand?" & forever find myself using such phrases with him. As I flush with embarrassment, he always fires back a witty remark. His sense of humor is abounding! Being particularly self-sufficient & creative, he frequently works independent of the class. This results in a lot of shared, problem-solving.
There is a unique bond formed between teacher & student, particularly between artists, & especially over years. This past week, the reality of change knocked me off my feet as he shared that he & his sister (another cherished of "my babies")will begin a new life in another school next week.... An unspoken aspect of teaching is the continual cycle of grief & renewal. With a grateful heart, for now, I grieve...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why We Moved Away From Maryland

My brother & I made a quick stop-in back "home" a few weeks ago. I took this shot on our return trip to SC. Because they were closing a lane in the opposite direction, our side of the Capital Beltway was sailing along at 20 m.p.h.! She doesn't let you go easily.....THAT is why I always say that we, "escaped from D.C."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Return of Lines

To embrace the long gray of winter I learned to enjoy & contemplate the lines of the surrounding forest. Winter reveals these masterfully creative treasures of artistry. With bittersweet regret I watched the spring growth overtake them. The ambient glow of my candlelit mornings was replaced by the pastel skies of dawn.
As winter approaches I rise once again to light trays of candles. Peering out from my desk, the reflections of light across the lake seem to reach towards me as they sparkle in the currents. The forest makes it's last stand in brilliant color while weather & time fades them to neutrals. The lines reveal themselves once more & I am drawn to the poignancy with which I relinquished them but a few months ago.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Didn't Know They Did That Here !

This is an old image. I had been under a tree, watching the morning alight. I happened to see something like a stick fall from a tree & swim away. After watching the liquid pattern it made, I took this shot to verify that it was a snake. I don't sit under that tree as much anymore.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Not About the Beaver

It is amazing how pastors often seem to be peering into me lately. It's a "God-thing". Relating the story of Mary & Martha in Luke 10: 38-42, our middle school pastor reminded us of what is to be most "urgent" in our lives: to sit at Jesus' feet. I used to rush out each morning, to spend time with my Lord. Lately, I've been rushing out to His creations. Very well to appreciate the often overlooked blessings He has poured out....I need to make sure I am worshiping the Creator & not the creations. Above all, I need to be spending my time with Him through prayer, worship, & the reading of His word.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cascading Water

Neither of these are good shots, but I want to share with you about the waterfall behind our house. The recent rains have the waterfall behind us flowing freely once again. The weather is nice enough we can open up the screens & hear it throughout the house. To walk out on the deck, is an awesome sound of cascading water as the pond drains into the lake. Perhaps this last shot will give you some idea of how tall the falls are. They are just to the left of the image. The docks where I sit are to the right. (You can also look back to the first image I posted in September, where the falls are just out of view to the right.) I thought this was a neat moment where the clear waters of the pond met the muddy, flood waters of the lake. It's time for the beaver, so I'm off to spy my morning friend.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Glorious Morning !

I went out to catch the sunrise..."Praise You in This Storm" ringing in my head....I sat atop a log left by the flood waters. Within minutes, the beaver swam right up near me, his tail above the water this time !!! He has to have seen me in my bright, turquoise hoody...but, I am no longer a threat. I have become a trusted part of his world. A great heron lumbered past, his blue gray against the orange rusts of the forest! All around were the chattering & movements of giant flocks of blackbirds heading south. A tiny wood duck cut a silver v across the water, as the sky filled orange! Glorious God & maker of the universe !! "What is man that thou art mindful of him?" (Psalm 8)

Rising Waters

The remnants of hurricane Ida passed through our town. I actually checked the news to see her effects...a few trees down, creeks swelled beyond their banks, limbs all over streets. There was but a minute of coverage one morning. Our little niche of the world has been transformed for days. The fixed docks are covered & the falls roar. Even the protective shields on the duck houses are under water. Water on both sides of Beaver Point is now visible from the upper path behind us.

The nearby shoreline generally has a drop off to the lake. The waters, now cover the grasses & scrub brush above the shoreline. I made my way over to the landing to capture some images from my usual vantage point....Silly me, the landing was under water. I typically watch the beavers well below the line of the log in this image, next to those 3 smallish trees.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mini-Escape 2

Do you have it now?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Becoming Part of the Forest

I sat this morning, watching the mist rise from the lake to sway across the water. There was what sounded like a gentle gnawing along the shore. I sat motionless, watching in front of me & listening to my left. A bird flew so close that I felt either his wing-tip or the rush of air on my forehead through my beanie cap !!!!
Movement caught my eye & I peered out to see a water fowl emerge from beneath the overhanging maple. On previous mornings, I thought it to be the green heron making his autumn stop-over. Today I realized it is a wood duck, doing the same. He simply floated before me, some way out. The day grew lighter & Juliette joined me, standing in front of me, parallel with the shore. Warming my hands in the multiple layers of skin & fur beneath her chin, I reached for the camera. Hoping there was enough light along the banks, I zoomed in on the duck. It pays to be aware of what is around the lens, for a silver shimmer moved the otherwise calm surface. Having just rounded the bend, a beaver surfaced & I with my camera held in ready!!!

I had no time for adjustments or zooming. He was coming fast & I simply captured what I could. He was swimming high, with both back & tail exposed as he skimmed along. Perhaps you can make out the tail in this last image...After I took it, I watched with my naked eye as he traveled ever closer towards me. He turned towards his burrow, arched his back & disappeared into the main entrance. He was so close, I could see individual hairs on his side, as well as make out the different shades in his rich, chocolatey, wet fur !!!

Returning home, I excitedly woke my husband. I told him of the bird skimming me & the beaver swimming towards me in the light. He simply smiled & replied,
"Ah ! So you are becoming a part of the forest now!"

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Last weekend, my brother & I surprised my folks by showing up at their door, over 500 miles away. The next day, we waited with daddy while momma had eye surgery. I slipped out for a little escape & got lost in these for a time...a refreshing little "side-trip" !

Can you guess what they are?

Thank you for your prayers. Momma's sight has greatly improved. She is now looking forward to having her other eye repaired on Pearl Harbor Day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Beaver Point

As promised, here is a view of the landing where I watch for the beavers. There is even an exit at the corner of the bushes. I sit at the water's edge, hidden next to that growth. Above & behind the split in the seawall is the main entrance to their burrow. They safely make their way behind the wall to any of a half a dozen egresses.

I mistakenly assumed that they eat fish. They primarily feed upon the soft, under-layer of bark. Here is the main opening to the burrow. Both images show how hard at work they have been, stockpiling for the winter. They do not hibernate, but may sleep for weeks at a time. They raise their young over the winter, so I anxiously hope for new neighbors in the spring!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Treasures Revealed

It has been 2 or 3 years since the "annual", autumnal dropping of the lake. This is done so in order for people to tend to their seawalls. Rushing down with great enthusiasm, for us it is a magical time of exploration & discovery. The docks are grounded & I am able to walk out to gaze upon my places of peace & meditation. I shot some images to enable you to get a better sense of my little cove. Looking across this once floating dock, my house is way up on a ridge to the right.(see first image in July). The beavers live in the far banks, beyond the crumbling boat house. I watch the sun set from the dock, then make my way across the cove to the landing, which is to the right just out of view.

I took this image to mirror the one I posted Sept. 29th to show you the magical world that is revealed. Our floating dock is around the corner to the left. I now walk from one end to the other along the shores in search of treasure. It is always such a magical time to look back on our view from a different perspective !!! We find paw prints from beavers, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks & muskrats...There are even "tracks" of clams, as they made their way back into the water. We find a variety of clam & snail shells of different types, sizes & colors. Below our dock, I found London's long-lost, toy machine gun & he found our "missing" hot dog roasting fork. In my next post, I shall share images of the beavers' burrowing & the proximity to it from which I "watch."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Perceptions in the Dark

Years ago, my momma had eye surgery that left her eyes patched for a time. Her other senses were greatly heightened with her vision shut off from the light. She tells how noisy the hospital ward was at night & of the nearly silent padding of the nurses' rubber-soled feet as they made their rounds.*
Once, the beaver slapped a warning as he overheard the night-time whispers I shared with my brother, high atop the ridge. I have been venturing forth to the lake by moonlight, or no light, this past week. Traversing the path, my feet & pants are already soaked by the time I reach the water's edge. I have noticed how the eye is drawn to any light it can find while in the dark. In drawing, I have been teaching of the use of value. "The brain perceives light as close & that darker shades recede." As I stare motionlessly at the lake, I must be intentional to keep my eye focused on the mirror-like surface. It takes all of my resolve to keep my eye from passing car & train lights, or from traveling to the dam's pale, reflection.
The late change to daylight savings' time has led me to the lake too early to witness much beaver activity. Though out of my view, I have had some wonderful sightings as they work to cover the entrances to their tunnels for hibernation. Sitting on the landing, with but a small clump of brush between us, I can now discern many of their sounds. There are different & distinct blurps as air bubbles break the surface upon their entry or exit from their burrow. The gentle dragging of branches into place is nearly inaudible. There are both grinding & scraping sounds. All are very slow & deliberate. It is amazing, & a little unsettling, knowing they are so close & sharing the bank with me. The sound of small trees being felled across the water is done in such a way as to be nearly silent. Beavers truly do live up to their reputation of being "shy & reclusive". I love the challenge of watching them & feel honored when I am blessed to do so.

I can only make this image out when it is sized to full screen & I am sitting in a darkened room. I sized it larger than usual in hopes of sharing with you some of night's beauty on the lake. (It would be amazing if printed to it's original size of 38"x 50.33"!) To my surprise, this post-dusk image appears to have captured a beaver! Holding the camera steady, propped between my knees, took much of my attention... but, what looks like a beaver appears in only once in a series of 18. Perhaps he broke the surface, & upon seeing me, slipped silently back under, undetected as my eye was drawn to a shimmering silver wake farther out. This is the 2nd to last photo & the only one with the darkened silhouette. The shot that follows has a shadowed wake. Though unseen by my eye, my camera seems to have captured him !

* (Please keep her in prayer as she faces life-changing eye surgery on Monday.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Impressionist Watch

Sunday evening, as the sun began it's descent in the west, I headed east. I stood in the open air, away from the forest, watching the sky. It was absolutely a glorious show !!! I stood in the middle of the street, transfixed. So many passed by with barely a glance...but I saved a wee taste for you.

As the colors receded to the west, I headed that direction. The lake was positively rich in hue !!!! I shot the sky as it lit up orange & pink behind the autumn foliage, & still on long after the trees were but silhouettes. Years of checking my loathed watch have paid off. I headed to the landing at just the right moment. I sat but 5 minutes in rapt awe of the changing sky & water, when the beaver silently swam out before me !!!! Awesome end to a fantabulous weekend !!!!