Whew! Is the coast all clear? Can I safely do my turkey trot? Yup, you and your rafter (aka flock) of wild turkey friends in Zion National Park have made it to Thanksgiving Day intact. (I’m keeping mum about the not-so-lucky turkeys).
However you celebrate Thanksgiving – if you even mark it at all – please have a safe day and think about all the things for which you are thankful. I’m thankful for my family, a roof over our heads, food to eat, my cameras (of course), and that we all continue to be healthy within this pandemic (hope I haven’t jinxed anything).
On my next-to-last day in Zion National Park, I happened upon a flock (actually, it’s called a “rafter”) of wild turkeys. I first encountered them along the road through the park and thought that was pretty cool and I was tickled to have seen them then. Then, during a hike where I was crossing the bridge from Sand Bench Trail toward the Court of Patriarchs, I found a flock – er – rafter – of them hanging out around a park maintenance building. I had the best time walking along with them, photographing them. They weren’t the least bit afraid of me and that’s where I learned they can actually fly – enough to get up into a tree, at least. Wild turkeys, for all their grizzled faces, are pretty cool birds to watch, and their feathers are beautiful.
For this July 4th, how about a bit of flower fireworks, courtesy of these blooming spider lilies. They make me think of bursting white and yellow fireworks. A bit of a throwback to 2015, courtesy of Brazos Bend State Park in Texas.
Where ever you are folks, regardless of the day (which feels to me a bit marred thanks to tRump’s little Covid party last night at Mount Rushmore National Memorial), please stay safe out there. The coronavirus is here to stay until there is a viable vaccine available to everybody, so please practice social distancing and wear a mask. It aint a hoax.
If you are out and about (and a good distance apart from any other hiker) in a nationanl park or national monument or national forest, then after viewing the wide-angle vistas before you, take a look at the greenery that makes up the scenery, since it’s the little things that flesh out a landscape’s Big Picture.
“May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold, and at the end of all your rainbows, may you find a pot of gold.” … of course, you might have to engage in some sort of shillelagh fight with a leprachaun to get that pot of gold for yourself, but I know you can do it.
Many of us have some sort of holiday tradition – maybe even more than one. In my family, the tradition was, on Christmas Eve, to see who could say (or shout) “Christmas Eve Gift” first, before the others could. That meant they’d been “gotten” and they had to hand over a little gift to the person who had gotten them.
One Christmas Eve morning, probably some 12-13 years ago, when I was living in an apartment in Texas, next door to my elderly parents, I woke up early to bake a huckleberry cobbler. An hour and a half later, fresh from the oven, I carefully bore my dark berry prize down the stairs and across the lawn to my parents’ back door. My intention was to get the cobbler safely onto their dining nook table, then go and wake them up with the words “Christmas Eve Gift!” and then we’d all have that luscious, hot, cobbler for breakfast.
Carefully setting the foil-covered hot cobbler down on the chair next to the back door, I brought out my set of keys and quietly unlocked the door. Stepping inside the dark house, I flicked on the light switch to the dining nook.
“CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT!” my parents shouted as they stepped from their hiding place behind the kitchen wall, extremely tickled with themselves. I’d been “gotten.” Thankfully, the cobbler was still outside on the chair, or else we’d have been spooning it up from the floor, because I’d probably have dropped it in surprise. Very clever, my parents were, on that Christmas Eve.
Mom and Dad are gone and we don’t celebrate that tradition any longer. All the other Christmas Eve Gift events, I cannot remember. This one, though, I remember as if it happened just a few minutes ago.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope you have some sort of memorable holiday tradition of your own.
Here’s to the one that got away and won’t be found on anybody’s dinner table 😉
For those of you who follow the tradition of Thanksgiving, it’s supposed to be a time of thinking about what you are thankful for in your life. It also is a time to enjoy the bounty of what the earth provides (aka lots of eating and snacking … and watching football).
I’m thankful for a gazillion things, such as my sister, having a roof over my head and food to eat and electricity and clean running water. I’m thankful for having moved back to a part of the U.S. that I love the most, and being back so close to the mountains that I’ve missed for the majority of my life. I’m also thankful for the invention of digital cameras and being able to own a few in order to capture beautiful / interesting images that tell a story and elicit emotion and share them with you all. I’m thankful for our national parks and hope nobody ever commercializes them (any more than they may already be). I could go on and on, but at least you know, I don’t take much for granted and try to find something good in every day.
As for the photo, this is a wild turkey that was roaming around with its flock (or whatever you call a group of wild turkeys) near a Park Service storage building along a trail near the Court of The Patriarchs. Those guys were not afraid of me at all. I should have been afraid of them because thtey were pretty darned big. I followed them around to get still images and video, and it was then that I learned they could fly. Well, from the ground up to a branch in a tree, which is where I photographed this guy (or gal). I also learned that they are very colorful and, despite their faces only a mother could love, are actually kinda pretty.
What are your plans for this Memorial Day weekend? My plans are to stay at home and work on another article for the National Parks Traveler. My nice little 3-day trip was last week, before the hordes ascended upon Mount Rainier National Park. This past Thursday, while grocery shopping at the local Fred Meyer, I drove past the Fred Meyer gas station and saw all sorts of RVs lined up for gasoline. Some of them even towed boats behind them. All were getting ready for their trips out into Nature. I will admit, the nice thing about living in central Washington is that I’m so close to so many beautiful places for R&R.
This shot was taken after the sun had risen a bit above the horizon. Mount Rainier behind me was still hidden by the clouds, so I concentrated my camera lens on the Tatoosh Mountains in front of me, in the Paradise area. At the time I captured this shot, there was only one other person out there some distance away – another photographer using his telephoto lens. Getting out in the early morning is a great way to start a day of photography, because most people are not yet up, so it feels like you have the entire place to yourself.
For those of you who celebrate Memorial Day (mainly the U.S., I guess), have a safe and enjoyable 3-day weekend.
My sister and I often talk about Mom. We really wish she could have been here for all the drama we’ve been going through this past year. She would have loved it (and would have loved to throttle my sister’s sociopathic lying, thieving ex). Sometimes, she or I will be doing something and for a microsecond, we’ll want to grab the phone and call Mom. And then we remember. She’s been gone for 4 years, now.
We often second guess ourselves where Mom is concerned. We should have done more for her. We should have visited with her more often. Shoulda-woulda-coulda. But, the one thing we did right was let Mom know she was always loved, even right up to that last day.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. And, hey kids, call your mom more often. Talk to her more often. Visit her more often. Let her know she is loved.
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
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