Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fiddler Crabs

Fiddler crabs are interesting.  I've always enjoyed watching the ones that live next to the rip rap in the marsh.  sitting around in the mud until someone or something draws near then scuttling into their holes.  The name fiddler crab was given because of the movement of the claws on the male crabs- looks like they are playing a fiddle.  Fiddler crabs are detritivores or animals that eat detritus or decaying matter (fungus, algae, etc). 
This Fiddler Crab was found in the ditch outside of the Seabreeze Restaurant on Gwynn's Island. 
I'm certain it's a carnivore and is fed small children. 
You need to really watch out for those Mathews bred fiddler crabs!

I'm pretty sure this movie was filmed on location in Mathews County, VA

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Living Driftwood

I love taking photos of this tree at Aaron's Beach.  Every time I see it I think of it as living driftwood.  I imagine one day I will show up at the beach and find it gone- washed out to sea or thrown haphazardly on the shore line. 

I can't say exactly what draws me to it.  Aesthetically the bark is amazing: smooth and graying and twisting.

I think honestly, it appeals to me because I see myself in this tree.  I am this tree.  Standing stoic heedless of the blazing sun, the pounding surf, the impending storm.  Maybe standing a little defiantly because of the impending storm. And perhaps a little weary of facing storms too. 

But despite all the storms its faced, it still stands tall.  And its more beautiful and richer for having faced the storms it has.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Relaxation Station

Is there anything quite so Mahvelous as lazing around in a hammock?

Saturday, October 16, 2010


 I seem to be on a "symbolism kick" so I might as well mention some interesting things about butterflies:

* Native American legend says that if you have a secret wish, capture a butterfly and whisper your wish to it.  Release the butterfly and it will carry your wish to the Great Spirit who alone knows the thoughts of butterflies.  By setting the butterfly free, you are helping to restore the balance of nature and your wish will surely be granted.

* Butterflies symbolize transformation making them an ideal image for anyone contemplating or in the midst of a major change.

* The Chinese believe that a jade butterfly suggests a wedding of souls.  Many grooms choose this as a gift for their bride.

* In the Greek language, Psyche is both the word for butterfly and soul.

* Many religions use the butterfly as a symbol of the soul including Christianity.

* Butterflies are thought by some to be human souls searching for a new reincarnation.

My family seems to have a special butterfly "bond".  By that I mean there have been some rather interesting encounters with butterflies that made me look up the symbolism.

It started when my uncle passed away suddenly several years ago.  While my cousin and aunt were walking in the yard after the funeral, a butterfly started flying around them.  It passed by my cousin so closely that she felt the wing brush her cheek.  Curious, they followed the butterfly around the yard.  At the time, my aunt had rented a large dumpster to use in order to clean out some things from the basement.  There had been some family members helping with the clean up, and someone inadvertently threw away a band my uncle had made to help my aunt use the grinding stone.  It was one of the last things he had done when he was home and losing it upset my aunt quite a bit.  Anyway, this butterfly flew over to the dumpster, landed on a box, walked around the lid of the box in a circle three times then flew away.  The next day, my cousin decided to root around in the dumpster to see what had been thrown away.  While in the dumpster, she remembered the box the butterfly had landed on and decided to see what was in it.  When she picked up the box, laying underneath was the band from the grinding stone.

 About a year after my uncle's death, my cousin, aunt and I went to Deltaville for a long weekend stay.  We took our little john boat out on the creek enjoying being able to speed along like we did as kids.  My uncle used to indulge us quite a bit with that old john boat between jumping waves to taking long treks into the river to watch menhaden boats and even a few trips out to the Bay.  While we were speeding along, quite a distance from any shoreline, a tiger swallowtail butterfly appeared out of nowhere and was keeping up with the boat.  My aunt held out her hand and surprisingly the butterfly landed on her palm and rested before flying off and disappearing.  Later I came across a fact sheet on Tiger Swallowtails that stated it was rare for them to be found so far from land. 

It was following this last encounter that I became curious and looked up some information on butterflies.  I learned they are the oldest symbol of the soul.  Nice thought.  Even nicer that I came across this weed growing next to the path at Aaron's Beach and saw all the butterflies feeding on the nectar.

I endured numerous bug bites standing as still as I could and leaning in to get the closest photo possible.  I couldn't help but think of my Grandmother and wonder if perhaps any of these Buckeye butterflies were friends of hers.  Today I went to my grandmother's house in order to go through her things and divide items amongst the family.  I came across some butterfly prints she had.  I was somewhat startled to see that the butterfly depicted in the prints were Buckeyes like the ones in these photos.  Buckeyes are typically not the subject of paintings.

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

~Irish Blessing

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Swan

While enjoying a lazy relaxing day at Aaron's Beach, I noticed an odd bird swimming just off the shore.  At first I thought the bird was a goose, but the neck seemed off- too long.  Using the zoom on my camera I was able to get some shots and I was surprised to see that the bird was actually a mute swan.  I was intrigued.  The last animal I expected to come across was a swan.  So I followed it's journey parallel to the shoreline trying to get better photos.  Eventually, the swan disappeared as quietly as it had appeared and I went back to relaxing on the beach. 

Some time later I began to wonder about the swan.  I am someone who believes in signs.  While I don't go looking for signs in every rainbow and 4 leaf clover, I do recognize when something happens that might be out of the ordinary.  I felt that a lone swan appearing at the beach in front of me was certainly a sign I should look into.

Swans mate for life and because of this they are typically seen as a symbol of love and fidelity.  Literature and Mythology is littered with stories about swans.  The Ugly Duckling, Swan Lake, Children of Lir, Cear Ibermeith and The Wild Swans to name but a few.  Many stories deal with women being transformed into swans and requiring a hero to fall in love with them in order to save them from whatever enchantment had been placed on them (I am, of course, paraphrasing).  In Celtic mythology, swans are associated with music, love, purity and the soul.

What I was most interested in was finding out the meaning of a swan as a totem animal.  So I'm sure some are wondering what exactly a totem animal is. Totems can be symbols for an individual's personal or spiritual identity.  Most people have more than one totem animal that teaches, guides and sometimes protects them.  Most totems remain with you throughout your life, though, a major life change could cause your totems to change in order to adapt to new circumstances.  Sometimes people also have special helpers/protectors that show up for a limited amount of time in order to help you through challenges you must face (Check out Discover Your Animal Totems to find out what totems you may have). 

So, I looked up swans and this is what I found:   Swan as a totem represents grace, strength, and longevity. A swan showing up can indicate the one you are with, or someone you are soon to meet, is a soul-mate. The swan teaches that there is beauty in all things. As an archetype, the swan begins life as an "ugly ducking" and yet emerges into a beauty when full grown. This children's story is a tale of soul-growth and also teaches inner beauty. The swan's message may very well be that things are not as they appear outwardly. Look beyond the obvious.  The Swan is one of the most powerful and ancient of totems.  As you begin to realize your own true beauty, you unfold the ability to bridge new realms and new powers.  Swan can show you how to access the inner beauty within yourself and in others.  A Swan totem heralds a time of altered states of awareness and the development of intuitive abilities.  Swan people have the ability to see the future, and to accept the healing and transformation that is beginning in their lives.  Accept your ability and go with the flow.  Stop denying you know who is calling when the phone rings.  Pay attention to your hunches and inner knowledge, and Swan medicine will work through you.  The Swan's call teaches the mysteries of song and poetry, for these touch the child and the beauty within. (borrowed from and ).

Unfortunately I can't really elaborate on how any of this might relate to me personally, but it does fit.  Fits enough that I'm sure the swan is one of my totems.

Do you have a totem animal? 
 Ever had a weird animal encounter you thought might have some sort of meaning?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Road Not Taken- a Lesson in Fate

A close friend of mine asked the question, "Do you believe in Fate, why or why not?"  The answer I came up with was that we are given options but we ultimately make the choice of which path to take.  Maybe you miss out on a choice you should have picked, but inevitably you always seem to come back around to it again in the end.  I believe this wholeheartedly.  And while you might not have chosen a path that is the easiest or most direct route to what is "meant to be" eventually the path you did choose will bring you around to the choice again.  I believe that if something is meant to be then it will be placed in front of you again and again until you figure it out.  It reminded me of one of my favorite poems....

            The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
        ~Robert Frost

Are there paths you wished you had taken?  Have you crossed paths with the same choices more than once? Do you believe in Fate?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Best Weekend Ever

This weekend I managed to make it down to Deltaville.  While I love going to Deltaville, sometimes I'm ready to head home and have a vacation from my vacations.  This trip was different.  This trip was the most relaxing trip I've had in several years.  There was no real agenda, no set schedule.  Just time to do whatever and whenever we wanted.  Most of our time was spent exploring some beaches in Mathews County.

And of course there were a few Chocit Shakes. 

 Some had cweam some did not.

There was also mass quantities of wine.  In a Flounder wine glass.
How many people do you know with a Flounder wine glass? 
 That's right, exactly one. 

And there was also fire and goom friends. 
And Farshmellows.  And Chocit.

For those goom friends who got to meet Ethan and my mom
Ethan said: "Mom I like you people"
My mom said (after 2 more glasses of wine): I like you people too.  You have goom people.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Old Man and the Sea

One of my favorite Hemingway books is The Old Man and the Sea.  So when I saw this old salt fishing from the jetty at Haven Beach, I had to snap some photos.  Right after these photos were taken, he caught a small sand shark.  I'm not sure why I didn't think to take photos of the shark, or or the man letting the Brat Child touch he shark or of the shark slowly swimming away.  But I'm glad I got the couple of shots I did.

On a side note, while talking about fishing and sand sharks, the fisherman informed me that the shark he caught while at the beach that day was the 12th one that week.  Great...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Walking along the beach, I'm going to say it was Haven Beach, I noticed this old boot.
There's lots of things to wonder about an old boot that washes up on the beach.  Like where's the corresponding foot to go with the boot?
Is there a body under the sand? Or out in the Bay floating around without a boot?
Did it blow off someone's boat during the hurrican'easter that came through?
Did a boat sink?
Or perhaps it floated down the Piankatank into the Bay and onto the beach from CBW's house.

But, seriously, where is the fisherman who owned it? 
 Is he old and weary, done with his days of fishing and crabbing the Bay? 
Did he get forgotten?
Did he end up tossed asside, abandoned, like his worn out boot?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kayaking Trip

Today, I'm too tired to say much about anything.  So, enjoy some shots I took on my last kayaking trip around Sturgeon Creek.  Photos were taken with the Brat Child's crappy camera, so I apologize now for the quality.
Both of these shots were take looking out at the Rappahannock River. 
This sandbar more or less marks the boundary between the creek and river.

This bulkhead has been here all my life and has recently fallen apart enough to allow for what used to be the normal flow of water.  On the other side of the bulkhead is the Rappahannock.  From what I can remember, some idiot woman thought it would be nice to build a bulkhead so she could make a beach.  What she did was force the channel to change and reduced the flow of water.  There were also concerns about unnatural currents forming.  I always hoped there would be a whirlpool in the middle of the creek.  How cool would that be?!

Looking down into the creek
The Rivah

Some roads lead to water.  I'm pretty sure all my roads do.