It’s been a brutal and tough summer…one of our hottest yet. When you are at the river’s edge there’s no place to hide. It’s just rock, water, and sky. Life in all its forms is trying to expend just enough energy to keep going on. That also includes me. The mosquitos and gnats were extra annoying and chased me from the cool and shade under the willow trees to the open light and heat of the riverbank.
In the air above me, a pair of osprey makes repeated visits to the dam. Every once in a while, one of them would fold its wings slightly and dive into the river. I wonder how they know that the water here is shallow? On occasion their daring would be rewarded with a fish. Birds, however, are not the only ones ignoring the heat today to chase fish.
This guy has just landed a catfish and is extracting the hook. Around him is his fishing tackle which includes several poles and a small throw net. To me it all appears very primal and it wouldn’t have surprised me at this moment to see him take a bite out of this fish. Observing people fishing out at the Falls is like watching one of those nature documentaries where large bears intercept the salmon on their return home. People arrange themselves along the most productive sites and arriving early helps. Not all the fish caught by the fishermen are kept. The rough so-called “trash fish” are thrown back in a weakened, wounded condition. I have seen the osprey picking those fish off and flying away with them.
Butterflies are seen in profusion during this time of year. I have been watching which species like to congregate around the willow trees to sip up what I assume is tree sap. I have seen as many as six different species lining up on the same tree. I think areas where these trees have been damaged (from collisions with water born logs) are the preferred feeding areas. These places that the butterflies like (this includes flies and wasps too) are on the margins of where bark has been worn away. The above photo features two species…the larger Red-spotted Purple and the Comma butterfly. I later watched these two individuals engage in a combat over a favorite spot on the tree. The Comma was by far more aggressive. So much for the idea of describing a butterfly as being meek.
I did make one plastic discovery tangled in the driftwood and sand. I came across this Indian dressed in his Plains garb. He’s obviously has led a hard life too and has come to rest at the Falls of the Ohio. I snap his picture where I found him and dropped him into the collecting bag. I may or may not use him in some other creation of mine. We will see.
When I reached my studio under the willows, I found this image. The helmeted figure made a month a go is still here, but he was leaning over with a “spear” thrown into his body. There wasn’t any other signs of damage or disturbance. I removed the spear and set the figure up in another location and proceeded to make a new piece. This is what I came up with before the bugs chased me out into the bright light. With all the heaviness that life throws at us…I made this figure to remind myself to do a little dance every now and then. It seems to help!