Sunrise. Walking along the banks of the Tennessee.

By: bienesrobados

Mar 07 2011

Category: Uncategorized

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Aperture:f/5
Focal Length:50mm
ISO:800
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D700

Walking along the banks of the Tennessee River.  It’s early, just before sunrise, and a light scree of clouds rests above the horizon, pink as a China Doll rose.  Mist hangs low over the face of the river, and a raft of ducks swim by, the only evidence of their passing faint ripples spreading across the surface of the water.  In the distance a lone fisherman sits in a motorboat, shrouded against the chill in a thick jacket.  To the south a promontory juts out into the water.  Evergreen, oak, and sweetgum trees line the shore.

A great blue heron hunts in the shallow water along the river’s edge. Standing still in the placid waters, it moves only its head, neck, and eyes.  For a moment it tenses, its neck frozen in a curve as languorous as a snake sleeping in the sun, and then it strikes the water and its head emerges twisting and flinging water droplets, a silver minnow clasped in its beak.  With practiced ease it flicks its head up and swallows the fish, rocking its head back and forth as a bulge slides down its neck and disappears.

The telltale rat-a-tat of a woodpecker rises above the birdcalls and moments later a scarlet hooded Pileated woodpecker alights on the trunk of a young oak.  Head cocked, it thinks for a moment, and then taps out an interrogatory series of knocks, like a wine maker testing a barrel.  Black wings churn the air and it’s gone.  In the leafless branches of the sweetgum trees small bird nests sit in the crooks, shaggy bits of grass and small sticks dangling like threads from the woven core.  The harsh aarww-caww of a crow cuts over the chatter of swallow, bluebird, waxwing, and finch.

Small shells and polished stones lie thick on the sandy banks of the river.  Bits of trash scattered among the detritus are the only sign of human habitation.  A dented and faded silver pull top can of Bud, a fluorescent orange and green buoy hanging on a stump, a white oven door, a plastic chair with broken arm rests, a pill bottle, anonymous bits of broken plastic.  At a bend in the river where a stream flows down from the east thick clusters of marsh weed grow in the mud and a rainbow patina of oil spreads towards the river.  Nearby a large Washboard mussell shell lies spread open, its curves mirroring the shape of a butterfly at rest.

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