Lookin’ Out My Back Door


No, I wasn’t at a wildlife refuge. I wasn’t exploring a bayou, or slogging through a swamp. I was sitting at my desk when I happened to glance toward  the marina, and saw the unmistakable profile.

A quick run down the stairs took me to the water’s edge, where light from the setting sun flickered and faded. You never know, I thought. You just never know what you’re going to see — even if you’re only looking out your back door.


Creedence Clearwater Revival ~ lyrics, J.C. Fogerty


Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy!
Got to sit down, take a rest on the porch.
Imagination sets in, pretty soon I’m singin’
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.
Giant doin’ cartwheels, statue wearin’ high heels,
Look at all the happy creatures dancin’ on the lawn.
Dinosaur Victrola list’nin’ to Buck Owens
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.
Tambourines and elephants are playin’ in the band
Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon? Doo, doo, doo
Wond’rous apparition provided by magician
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.
Tambourines and elephants are playin’ in the band
Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon? Doo, doo, doo
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrow
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.
Forward troubles Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy!
Look at all the happy creatures dancin’ on the lawn
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrow
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.

Comments always are welcome.

60 thoughts on “Lookin’ Out My Back Door

    1. It was interesting to compare my first photos, taken from above, with this one. Because of the angle, the first photos showed little more than a black alligator and dark blue water. That quick run down the stairs made all the difference — glad you enjoyed the result!

    1. With the sun heading toward the horizon, there was no time to fuss over the composition, but I was more than pleased with the way it turned out. To be honest, I’m not sure I could have composed this any better if I’d had time to take. This is one my eye caught, rather than my mind.

    1. No alligator’s going to climb the bulkheads around here, but they have been seen casting an appraising eye on the dogs playing along the docks…

    1. Isn’t that a great line? I recently learned that Fogerty wrote the song for his son, Josh, who was three at the time. The image of a parade was inspired by Dr. Seuss’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

    1. Thanks, Mick. I really like the way the alligator seems to extend the lines of the shadow into the right-hand half of the photo. I still enjoy CCR — they’re in my road music collection.

    1. It’s funny how quickly some things come together. I saw the alligator, took the photo, and remembered the song all in the space of about twenty minutes. It was great fun to pair the music with the photo, and who doesn’t like a little cheerfulness in their music from time to time?

    1. It was a fun one to snag, Pit. As is often the case, it was the light that made the photo for me. We have alligators galore — but classy alligators, with stage lighting? Those are a little more rare!

  1. I’m inspired to get out my I-pod and cue up Creedence Clearwater, Linda. Great photo. Some of my all time favorite photos have been spur of the moment. When opportunity strikes, you have to be ready! (grin) –Curt

    1. Those waiting-to-be-captured moments are just that: moments. Not long after I took this photo, the sun had set and the alligator had submerged: all gone! Except that it isn’t gone, because I was willing to tear down the stairs, camera in hand. It did help that I’ve learned to always keep my long lens on the camera when I’m at home. There’s a lot of interesting stuff that goes on in that marina.

      1. I always think of the famous Ansel Adams moon shot, Linda. This is how his son, Michael described it…

        “Ansel was driving, and Cedric was in the passenger seat. I was eight years old, half listening to the banter, watching the world fly by out the window. We were in Ansel’s old Pontiac station wagon, heading back to Santa Fe. It had been a long day, and not, apparently, very successful.

        I don’t really remember any discussion about the potential of Moonrise at the time, only that we were moving really fast. Ansel was by nature prone to driving fast, but skilled and certainly not reckless. It was quite a shock, therefore, to suddenly be on the gravel shoulder of the road, fishtailing and dust flying as Ansel slammed on the brakes.

        “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Grab the camera case! It’s under there, get that out of the way. Where’s the tripod. Film holders ! Hurry ! Where’s the light meter?!! Where’s the light meter?! Oh, no, the light’s going…” Things were flying out of the car and onto the ground as we were frantically grabbing things that Ansel needed.

        Certainly not a direct quote, but at the end of it, Ansel knew he had something. He didn’t find the light meter, but made he exposure based on the known luminosity of the moon – 250 foot candles. The rest, as they say, is history.”

        At least our modern cameras make it a lot easier. :) –Cuer

  2. Gorgeous shot! Thanks for the CCR–love them. I was younger than my brothers and would wake up in the morning to CCR and the Stones.

    1. CCR’s what I call happy music; there aren’t many of their songs that I don’t like. I never imagined one as the sound track for a photo session with an alligator, but life’s unpredictable.

      As it happens, the Stones are playing Houston tonight. When a friend asked if I wanted to go, I gave her my best “are you crazy?” look. I’d enjoy the concert, but it’s that four hours on either end for traffic and parking that doesn’t appeal. Well, and the ticket price, although watching Jagger strut his stuff at 76, and after heart surgery, would be worth the price of admission.

    1. I can see the similarity, for sure. Alligators’ behavior can be submaine-like in another way; they’re able to submerge as suddenly and silently as any naval sub. When there’s nothing showing but the tip of their snout and their eyes, they look remarkably like a bullfrog, or a little pile of rotting vegetation. Sneaky critters, they are.

  3. Just think, Linda, you might have missed this one if you’d failed to look up at the right moment! I can’t imagine such a critter going for something as hefty as Dallas, but trust me, I’m taking no chances. Every time we’re down south, I keep the Sheltie on a short leash! And thanks for including the song and lyrics — I’ve always liked CCR, but this is the first time I’ve ever read what they’re actually singing!

    1. You’re right, Debbie, and the odd thing is that I wasn’t looking “for” anything; I just glanced out the window, and there he was. Part of it’s familiarity, of course. I’m so accustomed to looking for alligators now that I can spot one when there’s nothing but the tip of the nose and a pair of eyes showing above the water. To be honest, I suspect a lot of what I interpreted as “bullfrog” many years ago actually should have been labeled “alligator.” That not only goes for their appearance, but also for their sound. An alligator grunt can sound remarkably like a bullfrog.

      I’m glad I made the decision to add the lyrics to the page. There were a few phrases that I’d mis-heard over the years, and I figured the same would be true for other people, as well. It tickled me to learn Fogerty had written the song for his young son, as a bit of whimsy.

  4. Thanks for the ear worm. Great song to hum through the weekend! We see alligator in the creek occasionally, often enough that I rarely grab the camera anymore. I love them though!

    1. This has been my year to be fascinated by gators-in-the-water, as opposed to gators-lazing-on-the-bank. The refuge was full of them yesterday; I stopped counting at sixteen. It was interesting to see the egrets and herons wading in the midst of them. Some of the birds were within easy striking distance, but they obviously didn’t sense any threat.

      It was a great day for birds generally: not only the wood storks I showed on my other blogs, but also the whole range of herons and egrets, and a plethora of those sandpipers and such that I can’t identify. And the baby gallinules are all grown up. They’re still tagging along behind mama, but they’ve got tiny wings now, and they’re foraging on their own. It’s great fun to see.

      1. I must make it a point to get back out to BNWR! The wood storks are always exciting to see .. as are the alligators. I never tire of them.

        I hope you’re having a fabulous summer, Linda. The year is more than half over and we still haven’t enjoyed a ‘meet-up.’ Perhaps at an NOSOT event? I’m planning on attending the Sept forum in Houston.

        1. I was back out there early this morning, and there still weren’t any mosquitoes. There was a nice, relatively dry breeze until about 10 a.m., too. I wasn’t entirely sure I was on the Texas coast.

          What’s NOSOT? I tried a little online search, but I don’t think it has to do with antique automobiles or sports franchises. Inquiring minds want to know!

    1. People often say the best camera is the one you have with you, and sometimes the best shot is the one you just happen to see.

      Lucky you, to see CCR in concert. I’ve always been especially fond of this song, but their music generally appeals to me, and it’s had more staying power than some. There was a lot of good music in the ’70s, that’s for sure.

    1. Apparently the answer is “no.” Alligators don’t even fall under the various permutations of the Act of God clauses that are around, at least in Florida and Texas. In May of this year, an eleven foot long alligator broke through a window and came into a Florida woman’s kitchen, causing a good bit of damage. She tried to collect on insurance, but it didn’t work. There are some compelling photos of the intruder here.

  5. Just curious, but is alligator’s meat for sale as crocodile meat is in Australia? I spotted crocodile sausages yesterday at the supermarket. They looked a bit pale.
    Great photo, Linda. The alligator looked at peace.

    1. That’s an interesting question. My impulse is to say that it’s not. There are various restaurants that have it on the menu, and there are alligator festivals where you can have it as a treat, but the law says that “Only lawfully harvested alligators may be sold and only to a licensed wholesale dealer or alligator farmer.” At one time, alligators were hunted nearly to extinction here, and eventually were placed on the endangered species list. Now, they’re back, and thriving, but there still are protective laws in place: bag limits, short seasons, and so on.

      It’s really amazing how many alligators roam our marinas from time to time. They’re fresh water creatures, so they’re most often spotted after periods of heavy rains and flooding. In periods of drought, when the salt content of the water goes up, they retreat up the rivers and bayous to places that better suit them.

  6. Wow, neat! Hi folks, just cruisin’ in from the Cretaceous.
    Looks there won’t be any Woodstock revival in Watkins Glen, so no Fogerty, but I see he’ll be in Bethel, NY in August.
    Great photo for a great song!

    1. Too bad Fogerty’s not going to make Texas on this tour. The closest he’ll be is Santa Fe, unless the place he’s playing in Oklahoma is closer. On the other hand, concerts by aging musicians can be iffy; some friends who went to hear Fleetwood Mac learned that, to their chagrin. Better to sink into the music at home, like a gator sinking into the mud. That probably puts me in the Cretaceous, too, but no matter!

    1. The tapestry/accesssory is good. Sometimes, I see it as a flag — maybe a variation on the Gadsden flag, with an alligator instead of a snake. “Don’t Tread On Me” still would work as a slogan.

      As for the balcony: yes and no. I finally went in and had a little talk with yon management, and at the end of the year we’ll be looking around for more suitable digs. It kills me to think of giving this place up, but there comes a time…

    1. I’m developing a real fondness for alligators, although I’m still not as aware of them as I should be when I’m out and about. Here in the marinas, they’re mostly curiosities. Out in the refuge, the big ones can move fast, and can climb an embankment in a flash. I try to remember that — getting unlucky with a gator isn’t to be wished for!

  7. Ooooh, how well I remember similar images.. the stealth of an alligator!!! I often ‘chummed’ the cypress lake in front of our house at the farm in Catahoula Parish — Items from ‘cleanup’ in the kitchen went to the area where we kept a fishing boat, and it was so easy to cast for catfish. I’d take the fish to Natchez and give to a close family. Once Robert said to me the next time I saw him, “Miss |Lisa… You know what I found in that big catfish? A big ole chicken leg bone!’

    Another time I casted, caught a catfish and was reeling it in — and an alligator came swimming out of the water hyacinths and straight for the fish.. |I turned and sailed up the bank, dragging the line and fish behind me – and the alligator in pursuit of that fish. Sort of took the joy out of fishing from the bank after that, but taught me a great lesson!

    1. The stories I’ve heard from the wade fishermen leave me shaking my head — and some of the experiences have left them shaking, too. Snakes, alligators, sharks: they’re all out there, and the alligators and sharks particularly are more than happy to run off with your stringer.

      Last weekend they were thick out at the refuge. Some were only two or three feet long, but there were some big boys around, too. I’d left the big pond where most were hanging out, and stopped at another smaller pond to take photos of some roseate spoonbills. When another car came along, I got in mine and pulled a bit farther down the road, to park on the shoulder in case they wanted to pass.

      As I was getting out, one of the men from the car behind me walked up and said, “Did you happen to see that big gator coming up the bank while you were taking your photos?” I hadn’t. It had made some moves on them, too, and then went back into the water. When it finally surfaced, it was about nine feet long, and seemed interested. We bid it adieu, and moved on. I don’t think I’ll be walking any of the trails along the sloughs and through the flats until mating season’s over, and the weather gets cold.

    1. The more I’m around them, the more interesting they become. I’ve also become more cautious; I’ve seen more of them this year than ever before, and that gives me pause as I consider how many I’m notseeing.

  8. How fortuitous and you were able to quickly respond and nail a fine shot, Linda. It does have a prehistoric appearance and, with the light as it was, gives off an sense of deep age.
    Some of my favorite insect images happened right out the back door. So rewarding to only have to take a few steps.

    1. I’m developing quite an appreciation for the alligators. I used to think “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all” but that isn’t quite true. If nothing else, it’s possible to recognize specific gators that prefer specific spots — established territory, I suppose, but it’s still fun to see one and know that I’ve seen it before.

      This one was just wandering through; we get them in the marinas now and then, but there’s no good place for them to settle in. When one shows up, the word gets passed pretty quickly among the boat workers. Anyone who makes a living as a diver, or works on a floating platform, isn’t happy to see them. A hungry one, or one that’s irritated, could make for a really bad human day.

  9. Well, this is a perfect way to start my day! I’m catching up and I need a morning boost and this is one of my all time fave songs — and perfect for this post!

    But I sure would have freaked to see that in my work area! Yikes!

    1. I enjoyed listening to this song so much that I went ahead and got the three-CD volume of their hits. I’d forgotten many of the songs, and it was good to be reminded of them. It’s great road music, too. Now all I need is the time for a road trip.

      Right now, I don’t see anything out my “back door.” It’s high summer on the Texas coast, and everyone’s remembering why August isn’t their favorite month. Even the determined male pigeon who’s been chasing a female for two days has given up. All she wants to do is stand in the birdbath. It’s too hot for hanky-panky!

  10. What a great marriage of text, image, and music! True, you never know. Love that song….and thanks for bringing back a memory of birding on the edge of a wetland and pond on St. Simons Island, Georgia, one spring day decades ago. I came across a big one, on land. I safely retreated to the car! But I was grateful to have seen an alligator in the wild, and not in some zoo or preserve. I doubt there are many on the loose there any more, but I don’t know.

    1. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor! The ones I worry about are the ones lounging on the banks. They usually make their presence known by the big splash they make when they hit the water, and they usually make a beeline for the water when they sense a disturbance in their universe, but “usually” is a waffle word, and I’m not willing to test its limits!

  11. …especially when you are looking out your back door! I think we miss more things right under our noses because we don’t pay close attention, something obviously not the case for you. But how wonderful that you looked up at the right moment, and had enough time to get there with your camera!

    1. Sometimes I go out looking for something specific, but most of the time I don’t; I’m content just to see whatever is there to be seen. But just as satisfying are those times when sheer happenstance brings an beauty or an oddity into view, as it did here. Alligators can submerge as quickly as a bird taking flight; I’m glad I moved when I saw this one, and didn’t sit around, thinking about it!

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