It just doesn’t get any better than this; four weekday nights spent at the beautiful South Llano River State Park, in my favorite condo-on-wheels, in my favorite campsite (I’m not saying):
Part 1 of this blog will probably be short, as I don’t know how to find the words to express what pictures can better say. This state park is beautiful—and has quickly become, over these last three years, one of my favorite places-- to just be. Part 2 of this blog will post the bird photos from this five day stay, and share some of the wonderful experiences while birding each day. It will be posted at a next stop with internet access.
I have a friend who has her own unique way of expressing her longings to counter a stress-filled life. She holds her head a certain way, voices a strength that is honed by what many would call a tough set of life circumstances, and simply says: “I just wish people would let me be. I just want some peace.”
I found it this past week—a sense of peace I haven’t felt in a long time. But I can’t put it in a bottle, and I can’t sell it. It takes finding that special place to walk, to listen, to watch, to learn. For me it took walking, with no other person in sight, the miles of river bottom trails that wind through this hundred year old native pecan grove, hugging the Llano River. Sometimes the rick-man joined me, but mainly I walked and birded alone. Five days, a tiny pattern of time, to walk and know this place.
I walk the path down to the river’s edge. I stop and look to the left, and this is what I see:
I stop and look to the right, and this is what I see:
I continue to the right, amid the native stand of pecan trees that hold the wisdom of time spent in one place, thriving through good times and bad. A bountiful supply of pecans are scattered about, many broken open and telling tales of squirrels and birds and other creatures reaping this wild harvest. The river is beside me, talking to me with a voice of comfort and healing waters. I watch and listen to the screeching voices of Belted Kingfishers, fighting with each other while in flight over the river—fighting that age-old fight for fishing rights; for property rights; for what they each claim to be theirs.
I turn and head deeper into the grove and away from the river. A grey fox crosses the path, freezing with my awareness, then bolting to a full run, with the beauty of a wild animal not tamed by human encroachment. I continue away from the river, but not for long, as the river-bottom path does beckon.
In memory of Becki Howell Hughes who, at my age, lost her long fight with cancer. Becki was a wife, a mother, a career woman—and so much more that I do not know. But she will always be locked in my memory as a teenager; as a member of our long ago MYF that was so passionately a part of The Way; and as a beautiful 16 year old, with playful personality, and a gorgeous smile that caused all to pause and take note.