Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Listening Down By The Pond

The drought continues here in North Florida. The road killed young alligator just down the road is testament to that. He was just looking for some water after his flatwoods pond had dried up. My own pond is in danger of doing that very thing, and so yesterday evening, I walked down to feed the catfish and check the water level.

It was not good. The catfish and bream are confined to a small area and the deepest spot seems to be 4 feet or so. They were hungry though, so I sat on the edge of the dock and tossed food pellets to their hungry splashes.

It was a beautiful evening. The heat of the day had passed. A breeze, cooler than any all day, was drifting east to west. I was tired from a long day and I was full from too much fried chicken. I laid back on the dock and stared up at the sky. My eyes shut, but I was not asleep, just resting them.

I listened...
  • A distant neighbor playing Islands In The Stream too loud for a few moments, then it was gone. Thank you.
  • The wind in the willows...really it was.
  • Feather beside me panting.
  • An airliner higher than Mount Everest, yet the sound arrived.
  • The splash of the fish below me.
  • Bullfrog song.
  • Wren fussing.
  • LGB's twittering.
  • Buzz of a gnat in my ear.
  • Grass and sedges swishing.
  • Dove wings whistling.
  • Feather's sigh.
  • Cry of the nesting Coopers Hawk to the south.
  • ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Not sure about that last sound, but it stopped when I woke up.

26 comments:

pablo said...

A well-earned reflective time, too.

vicki said...

Sounds like a lovely little respite. Get it- sounds? har de har har (hanging with Hoss too much).
The drought is not good. Are Florida yard is toast because the water table has fallen below the pumps ability to suck water. Not good at all.

Feather pants, McCloud snores. What self-respecting cat snores?

robin andrea said...

That list almost put me to sleep! I hope you get some rain. Any in the forecast?

Hick said...

I didn't realize the drought was so bad. I'll pray for rain for you.

By the way...what is it with men not ever falling asleep...they just "rest their eyes"? My dad used to say that when mom woke him up and told him to go to bed. My husband never naps either...even though he may be twitching and snoring...he just "rests his eyes." I think it's the same gene that controls not asking for directions, too.

Laura said...

I can't help thinking that it's a good thing you didn't awaken to the "hissssssss" of another gator, ambling along in search of water... ;)

Leslie said...

I didn't realize y'all had a drought there. It sounds serious. Hope you get some rain soon!

Your list was relaxing and soothing.

swamp4me said...

That is an exercise I used to do with my students. I would take them outside to the part of the school's campus that was adjacent to a woodland and have them listen - just for 60 seconds. They thought I was crazy at first, but then they started asking if they could listen longer than a minute. There they sat, mouths closed, ears and minds open. It was glorious.

doubleknot said...

...zzzzzz - I need to print your list out and just read it and it would relax me to rest my eyes - which I do any way when watching TV till my room mate wakes me up and tells me to go to bed.

Terri said...

You certainly know how to capture all the beauty and sounds that surround us. But better still, you know how to enjoy them.
And yes...the lack of rain in our neck of the woods is getting pretty serious. One can only hope the skies will open soon.

Likes2mtnbike said...

Like our last drought, when the rain comes it'll probably be during the front or butt-end of a tropical storm.
Feast or famine, ya'll, feast or famine.
(I hate to sound ignorant but what's an LGB? I know plenty of lesbians, gays and bi's who twitter but I'm pretty sure that's not it--LOL).

Mrs. S said...

I hope your pond is okay! How do you fix something like that? Just wait for rain? You'll have to edumacate me - I've never had a pond of my very own before.

Woodie said...

The only thing missing is the buzz of 'skeeters. We are so dry, though, I would gladly exchange a few bites for some regular rain that would bring the 'skeeters along with it...

Ava said...

I always enjoyed feeding the fish in my Grandfather's pond. It's very peaceful and a great time for thinking.

Ava

Wayne said...

We've been dry too - since February, really. Only the scantest rains in the interim. Poor little Sparkleberrysprings Creek is barely running at all, and in 20 years I've never seen this. And we're doing our wildland fire training sessions this weekend and next and are *supposed* to have an actual controlled burn one of those two weekends.

I'm so pleased you were able to hear those grasses and sedges whispering in the breeze. Last night I talked to my sister - she was very tolerant while I told her, as I was sitting outside, yes, Susan - there's a bullfrog, and that's a leopard frog and listen - there's a microhead (that's what I call smallmouth toads). And overwhelming it all of course was the *house amphibian*, Copes Gray Treefrog!

Floridacracker said...

Pablo,
Actually, my initial reason for heading outside was to get away from the airconditioning. My wife keeps the house just above ice age.

Vicki,
I'm sure the real estate agent failed to mention that Pinellas County has been so completely cemented that no water recharge takes place there. Good luck!

Robin,
As a teacher, I knew I had the ability to put people to sleep :)
Some rain forecast for manana.

Hick,
It goes all the way back to when we were supposed to be guarding the cave entrance against cave bears and saber tooths.

Laura,
Believe me, after 3 fatal attacks in one week, gators are on my mind around freshwater. The dock is high enough thanks to the drought, that it would have to be one of those Homasassa acrobat gators to get a piece of me.

Leslie,
Thanks, we always have a spring drought, but this year is extreme. Tough on my veggies...and my fish.

Swampy,
A seventh grader with mouth shut for a minute is a glorious thing. I know the exercise and use it too. Amazing what starts to filter through after you are quiet for a minute.

Doubleknot,
Glad to help!

Terri,
Rain for me is probably rain for you due to our proximity. Got my fingers crossed for tomorrow and the next day. 40% is better than nothing.

Likes2mtnbike,
For those of us who can't identify the warbler clan members, LGB means "Little Grey Birds". They are small, similar, flittery, and I find it not important to know them individually...hence LGB's.
As for humans, I think twittering crosses all boundaries and may just be a common human language :)

Mrs. S,
If I were a real fish farmer, I'd pump ground water into it, but I just rely on seasonal patterns to fill it. Tomorrow is the first day of hurricane season so help is on the way.

Woodie,
Not the first mosquito. Proof of drought right there.

Ava,
It is so relaxing. You can feel your blood pressure dropping.

Wayne,
I'm still waiting for the ToadApolooza night at our pond. Usually by now there's been a rainy night with mass spawning going on and calling to bust your ear drums. Not yet this year.
Frustrating when I read that East Texas got 16 inches in one day this week. What's up with that?

threecollie said...

Wish we could share our rains with you...it seems like monsoon season here and not a kernel of corn in the ground yet (except the sweet corn, which won't do the cows a lot of good next winter).
My son, my brother, and I do the Audubon Christmas bird count every year and we have a designation on our list for "LBB's", (which are "little brown birds" of course). They are just above "unknown raptor species" and "unknown duck species" on the sheet. I was delighted to see that we are not alone.

Deb said...

Sorry I'm commenting late--had a big day gardening. About the listening, what an amazing thing to be able to know all those sounds and appreciate them! I try to listen every time I go outside of the noise of video games, DVD's, etc. and it's always a treat. Right now through the window I can hear a very persistent, loud ovenbird. One of the things I like best about this place, and I'm sure yours is like this too, is the absence of background noise. I lived with city and freeway noise for too long.

Wayne said...

FC - East and central Texas has been hard hit by extraordinary weather this spring. Even with our miniscule 1.4" rain in May I think we've probably had more than you have.

My guess is that this is a lingering effect of the La Nina that ended in March. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we're ENSO-neutral, so weather should return to normal, I hope! Need some rain to fill those ponds!

(Unfortunately "normal" for us and you means the return of the Bermuda High, which tends to repel cold fronts and rainfall :-( )

Thunder Dave said...

FC,
Bummer about the drought dude! We've had just the right amount of rain to sun so far, but our day is coming!

Nice story for Memorial day too! Two more of SPC. Dude's old unit went back to Iraq. I think that it's ok to recognize the active troops on memorial day along with those that have fallen!

Thunder Dave said...

OOPs! I also like your stain matching method! Too Funny!

John Cowart said...

The drought is so bad here in Jax that cutting our grass is like mowing talcum powder.

roger said...

we have a bit more rain, or at least soggy grey skies, than we want, maybe even need. where is that darn virtual pipe from here to there?

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

It's too bad about your drought and the water level of your pond. We have gotten our fair share of rain here and I think I'm growing webbed feet. hehehe

Sitting by the pond, feeding your fish with Feather by your side, sounds so peaceful...Add all the other sounds of nature and it sounds like heaven to me.

Floridacracker said...

Wayne,
Good rain yesterday, not great, but good. More in the forecast today :)

Thunder,
Thanks. They are special.

John,
You sound like my Dad in St. Aug. He gets angry at the weathermen as if it were their fault.

dpr,
we need a water wormhole.

Abandoned,
It was a bit heavenly.

Hick said...

I was reminded of your post this morning when I read an excerpt from Huckleberry Finn...(I love that book)

"I got out amongst the driftwood, and then laid down in the bottom of the canoe and let her float. I laid there, and had a good rest and a smoke out of my pipe, looking away into the sky; not a cloud in it. The sky looks ever so deep when you lay down on your back in the moonshine; I never knowed it before. And how far a body can hear on the water such nights! I heard people talking at the ferry landing. I heard what they said, too -- every word of it. One man said it was getting towards the long days and the short nights now. T'other one said this warn't one of the short ones, he reckoned -- and then they laughed, and he said it over again, and they laughed again; then they waked up another fellow and told him, and laughed, but he didn't laugh; he ripped out something brisk, and said let him alone. The first fellow said he 'lowed to tell it to his old woman -- she would think it was pretty good; but he said that warn't nothing to some things he had said in his time. I heard one man say it was nearly three o'clock, and he hoped daylight wouldn't wait more than about a week longer. After that the talk got further and further away, and I couldn't make out the words any more; but I could hear the mumble, and now and then a laugh, too, but it seemed a long ways off."

I didn't want to take up quite so much space, but it went perfectly with your post.

At any rate...I think Huck probably rested his eyes after that.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks Hick!