Far From the Madding Crowd

 

What may be the most well-known phrase from Thomas Gray’s poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” certainly fits this view of a road leading through the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge.

On January 6, the madding crowd was elsewhere, leaving the birds, the alligators, and the occasional nature lover to enjoy one another’s company — and the magnificent sky show — in peace.

 

Comments always are welcome.
For more information on Thomas Gray (1716-1771), visit this Poetry Foundation page.

 

A New Year? Time to Start Hopping

 

At first it was only the palmetto leaf, a bit of crisp variety along the edge of the tangled, soggy slough, that caught my attention. Then, I noticed a smooth patch of green lying on the leaf. Moving closer, still uncertain of its identity, I reached out to touch one end, and it woke up.

The patch of green turned out to be an inch-long tree frog — Hyla cinerea — napping in the sunlight. A nocturnal creature that spends most of the night seeking out insects in swamps, sloughs, and stream edges, it had just settled down for a short winter’s nap when I showed up.

It surprised me that the frog didn’t hop away; only later did I learn that green tree frogs often walk, rather than leaping. After one good stretch, the frog moved a bit farther up the leaf and then settled in again, apparently willing to tolerate a curious human visitor.

Getting eye-to-eye with the creature, I asked, “Are you ready for the new year?” I swear I saw him smile as he asked in return, “Are you?”

 

Comments always are welcome.

 

Into the New Year

Bryan Adams Memorial Sculpture ~ Brazoria Wildlife Refuge

 

If this life of ours
Be a good glad thing, why should we make us merry
Because a year of it is gone? But Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering, “It will be happier,” and old faces
Press round us, and warm hands close with warm hands,
And thro’ the blood the wine leaps to the brain
Like April sap to the topmost tree that shoots
New buds to heaven; whereon the throstle** rock’d
Sings a new song to the new year—and you?
Strike up a song, my friends, and then to bed.
                             ~  from The Foresters: Robin Hood & Maid Marian ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

** ‘Throstle’ is an older word for song thrush.
About the sculpture:
Bryan Adams served as Environmental Education Coordinator for the Mid-coast Wildlife Refuge Complex: the Brazoria, San Bernard, and Big Boggy refuges. He was dedicated to educating people — especially children — about the wonders of nature; each year, the refuge programs provide learning opportunities for up to three thousand elementary and secondary students from local school districts, the Houston School district, and Rice University. After his death, the bronze sculpture of the children was selected as a fitting memorial. A dedication for the sculpture and a new pond is planned for January.