The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for - Louis L'Amour
About Blog Title...
As a child, it was one of my greatest delights to visit my grandparents in the spring when the whip-poor-wills began to call. Grandma and Grandpa lived in a remote valley of the Ozark Mountains where there were trees a plenty, and, seemingly, a whip-poor-will, or two, in each one.
My grandmother insisted that a whip-poor-will's call was not "whip-poor-will," but instead, "chip-butter-white-oak." I would listen really hard trying to hear it exactly as she said it was, but all I could hear was "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will,..." But, I never let on to her.
I remember my grandpa watching and listening, with an amused look on his face, to one of these listening sessions. Shortly after that he began to call me, just for fun, "Chip Butter." It is a name I am proud to wear for I still love to hear that long, lonesome call on a warm summer's eve. And, sometimes, when I listen really, really hard, it seems I can hear quite clearly, "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak..."
One of the things I like best about September (Oh the list is long, for sure.) is that the wild ducks begin to return to the fresh water ponds here. In the photos is one little loner that I was able to photograph in the lily pads, while a half-dozen others wanted no part of having their picture taken. I am now wondering if this duck is able to fly at all. He is quite entertaining to watch as he swims leisurely about, diving occasionally underneath the water. Thoreau had these thoughts about the ducks on "his pond."
"The spruce and cedar on its shores, hung with gray lichens, looked at a distance like the ghosts of trees. Ducks were sailing here and there on its surface, and a solitary loon, like a more living wave, - a vital spot on the lake's surface, - laughed and frolicked, and showed its straight leg, for our amusement." ~ Henry David Thoreau
I think if this little duck had ever read Thoreau, one of his favorite quotations might be,"I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude."
~Henry David Thoreau
I do readily agree with Thoreau's thinking on the subject, for my own solitude is something I value (for a limited time, of course.)
The last cuttings of hay have been baled... (Well, except for a small patch or two. It seems we are really never finished.)
The little hummers are still here, although not nearly so many as there were throughout the summer. We are well into fall migration, so these little travelers are undoubtedly just passing through. I wish them luck on their long journey.
Jean Craighead George wrote of migration in Frightful's Mountain. "The happening was migration. It was full upon the Northern Hemisphere. The shorter hours of sunlight and lowering temperatures were telling millions of birds to go south. The event had begun in mid-August. The loons, geese, ducks, and shorebirds had heard the message from the environment and had left the barrens of Alaska and Canada. A few days later the swallows and swifts felt the change and left the Northeast."
The boots were new, and Millie hadn't even been born when I began to write and post pictures here at Chip Butter White Oak. I sometimes think about all those mornings when the grass was wet from the morning dew or from an overnight rain, that I pulled these boots on over heavy socks, grabbed my stick, called my dog, and headed out over the trail that my dearest Nell and I began walking almost thirteen years ago. One might think that walking that same trail, day after day, would become tiresome and monotonous, that there would be nothing new and different to photograph, but I have not found that to be the case. As Thoreau wrote, "Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence." Well, that's our forest path.
It was on a rainy day that I began this blog. I wrote, "I love a nice rainy day, like today, when the rain is gentle and there is no thunder and lightening. I like to forget about outside things on days like this and enjoy inside things... things like sewing and working on my dolls. It's also a perfect day for a cup of coffee with Dan who has been driven inside by the rain. According to the Green Mountain Coffee Story printed on the box, "A great tasting cup of coffee can give you a whole new perspective. It's a moment to pause, reflect, and reprioritize."
Pause, reflect, and reprioritize... As I said back then, "I think I smell the coffee..." ( I definitely need to do some reprioritizing. But, I'll think about that tomorrow.)
My Sweet Nell... (What joy she brought us.)
(Please note that I did not make this rocky hillside part of the trail we walk. I was quite relieved that I made it down this day without a broken leg.)