Tuesday, May 31, 2005

i love adventures

More than anything, I love adventures. I had one of the most magnificent adventures of all time the other night. The moon was full, the night was warm, and I was riding on the high seat of an airboat like I could have been a queen on a safari. It was so beautiful and wild, I could have been in Africa's Okavanga Delta (only I was a hundred miles east of Houston). The spotlight illuminated a hundred glowing orange eyes of alligators (soooo cool) and we saw so many marsh birds and their superfragilistically deliciously cute chicks. Black-necked stilts with their fuzzball chicks with their super long legs are so comical. Moorhens have fuzzy black chicks each with a little red dot on its forehead; one of them got scared and submerged and lost its siblings. Poor thing, we righted it and sent it in the right direction. Saw many mottled ducks and their faithful little ducklings paddling behind mama through the marsh. I was on an airboat in the coastal marshes of JD Murphree Wildlife Management Area, out with biologist Mike Rezsutek who studies mottled ducks. Halfway through the evening, I switched airboats and went with the gator gang while they lassoed gators for a food habits study.

On this same trip I saw the most intense beach erosion at McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, near the Louisiana-Texas border. The beach was so eroded that the clay underneath formed "cliffs" (see photo). In other locales, they had put up drift fences and with very little cost they had restored a several foot-high dune over just a year's time. The dunes provide habitat for many creatures -- crabs, beach mice, wildflowers -- and give the beach such a natural and soft beauty. On Matagorda peninsula and Matagorda Island the dunes extend quite a distance behind the beach. Its great to see nature actively being restored in places like McFaddin and Texas Point NWR. Dean Bossert and Marty Bray spent the day taking me around to see the various projects.

The only last thing for the month, I cut my hair short. I have always had long hair and it just felt like the thing to do. Change. I love it. On a personal level I have been grieving again. When I get deeply sad over my losses sometimes I feel so selfish. I think, who am I to feel such pain when I have it so good. I could have lost a child in a tsunami or my own children - God forbid - and they are here and doing so beautifully. Yet my pain is real and to deny it isn't truthful either. I suppose like all things it is a balance between feeling our emotions and not dwelling on them, not feeling sorry for our lot in life but being grateful for all we have. That I could force joy into my soul! Its such an elusive butterfly.

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