outdoors Photography

Time warp

With all good intentions I go on these walks along the Katy Trail determined that I’m going to walk to a specific point, turn around and head back to the car and get home at a reasonable time.

But then I end up going farther on the drive then planned – those country roads – until I remind myself that I’m out to walk, not drive, and then look for the closest entrance to the Katy Trail. Passing some pretty hot speedsters along the way.


Today’s portion of the trail was between two small farming towns, amidst fields of newly mown hay and corn. However, the encroachment of civilization is feeble at best, and the trail is surrounded by the usual flora and fauna. There’s no better smell than freshly cut hay mixed in with Missouri Green.


Today’s trip wasn’t in my usual isolation, and I met honest to goodness walkers as well as several bike riders. Regardless of the people and the crops and the roads, though, there’s something about walking a trail in the country of Missouri that brings to mind your favorite old stories. Huckleberry Finn. To Kill a Mockingbird. Alice in Wonderland.

Thoughts of fancy that last until a herd of bike riders heads your way, all of them giving the biker’s greeting: saying hello when they pass, right hand up, nod, small wave. In unison.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


One woman I walked past was quiet and just smiled in passing, but once she was behind me, I could hear a melody, rather lovely and sounding of a church choir breaking out behind me, rising above the usual birds. On the way back, I again had the trail to myself, and even considered breaking out into a tune, but I know I couldn’t do justice to the surroundings. I’m also sure there’s laws about scaring the wildlife unnecessarily.

However, I will admit that I talk to the creatures I meet in passing. Yes, even to the spiders and butterflies, though I prefer conversations with birds and squirrels. And rabbits! One field had several wild rabbits about and at a farm road that crossed the trail, several very young rabbits froze, trying to remain hidden from me, the hunter. The predator. Poor things didn’t know that I’m unlike the eagles and hawks, their usual nemesis, because they stood out quite clearly in the light dirt. I carefully took a photo of them, trying not to show that I could see them so that I wouldn’t frighten them. I don’t see you, cute little bunny – I’m just taking a picture of the dirt.

(And here my regular readers are going, “Why not? She’s taken pictures of everything else.”)

Watership Down. That’s what I ended my trip thinking about – the book Watership Down. That was a great book, and I realized looking at the field I passed that it could easily be the setting of Watership Down.

You can’t sit in a room looking at a computer and get stories and ideas of things to write about. You have to go out, explore, look around and then the words come to your mind as you wander about, and it’s all you can do to grab paper journal and pen and jot down your notes. That’s writing. Me putting it into a form for you to read using my computer and this weblog is nothing more than a translation – putting the images and thoughts in my mind into a form you can read.

Congratulations, You’re now multilingual – you can speak Shelley.


Photography Places

Way of the butterfly

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

It wasn’t all work and no play this weekend. I also explored two new conservation areas: Weldon Springs and the new Columbia Bottom. I found both of these through the Missouri Conservation connection, which is probably the best online nature site I know of — check out the interactive maps.

The new Columbia Bottom conservation area is quite large, and borders the Missouri on one side, and the Mississippi on the other, and meets at the confluence of both rivers. The confluence isn’t that impressive a sight: two big old muddy brown rivers meet, becoming one bigger old muddy river — Old Muddy itself, the ‘sip.

However, too hot to hike at the Bottom so I went over to the Riverfront park area, and crawled among the weeds and the insects to grab some photos of herons.


I did manage to get out for a walk along the Chain of Rocks Bridge. One nice thing about a bridge spanning the ‘sip, there’s usually a breeze blowing. And when you’re covered in sweat, even a warm breeze can cool you down.


It was close to sunset out at the bridge, and as usual for Missouri, the colors of the sunset here are a photographer’s best friend. Check out this photo of the water intake castle — pretty colors, eh?


Weldon Springs was hot and very humid, walking among the trees just after heavy rains last week. My three mile hike was cut short at about 1 1/2, because the weather saps your energy. However, I was able to spend some time watching two butterflies as they worked in and around some flowers.


Whenever the butterflies tried to occupy the same bud, they’d flutter around each other a moment, in a rather pretty ballet of wings, and then they’d move on, one to the flower, the other to another flower. No intervention required on my part.