Now, I'm going back on photos that I've taken during the past three months and matching them to 12 of the prompts to get me back on track.
Cold: The first thought that comes to mind when I see snow is "cold." The animal tracks are evidence that life continues even in the snow and cold.
Self-Portrait: Sophia was putting a scarf on me as if we going outside at the Music & Memory program. This is a program that we helped launch in January at the nursing home where we volunteer. One of the residents also wore this scarf, and was singing and laughing as she listened to the music that we personally selected for her.
To me, this picture reminds me of the power of music, and how it can transform a person affected with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease by unlocking good memories of time long passed. It also reminds me of my father who had Alzheimer's Disease and how much he loved nature, wildlife, and birds. His love of these things was passed onto me which is and will continue to be an integral part of my life.
Wood: These holes are in the bark of one of the pine trees in the front yard. They are from some type of woodpecker. I don't think it's a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker because the holes of that type of bird are more orderly and in a row. However, perhaps the bird that left these holes in the tree was interrupted as it was drilling holes looking for sap and insects. We'll never know!
Sign: A stripped pine tree limb is a sign that a squirrel has been busy eating the bark off the tree as a source of food. Squirrels prefer to strip branches that are horizontal, but have been known to strip trunks too. The damage can be extensive. Thankfully, the squirrel only stripped the bark off of one limb of this tree.
Bark stripping usually occurs in late winter, but it can occur in the spring if trees don't produce mast.
Top: This is the top of the tree that is near the mudroom roof and bedroom window. The berries aren't eaten by the birds until spring. Robins and cedar waxwings visit the tree and in less than a week it will be cleared of berries. The birds are clearly hungry and welcome eating the berries after their long migration back north.
Shadow: This picture was taken at Fort Jackson in Louisiana. It was 82 degrees outside and the sun was behind me. Part of the fort and fence can be seen in shadow on the grass. The Mississippi River is in the background.
Bird: This is the Boat-tailed Grackle that I saw in Venice, Louisiana. It was almost near the end of where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. I had never seen this bird before and was happy that I could find what it was. It has a very long tail that is scalloped - which is a distinguishing feature of it.
Peaceful: This photograph also was taken in Venice, Louisiana. This heron found a raised section of vegetation that it chose to rest upon as it looked out at the river. It was as if it was in its own world - noises and other birds didn't seem to bother it all.
Motion: These 18 little ducks quickly swam away as I approached. They are all about the same size, so I don't think it was parents with their ducklings. It seemed more like an adult flock of ducks.
This is in Venice, Louisiana, during March so it could be that they haven't started making their way back north on their migration journey or they could be local ducks that prefer this type of environment.
Old: These beautiful oak trees are at Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. The double row of live oak trees form an alley or canopied path that is about 800 feet long. The trees were planted in the early 18th century – long before the present house was built. The alley runs between the house and the Mississippi River.
Trail: In a way, I kind of hesitate to use the "trail" prompt on this picture, yet it is reflective of what much of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas (the three states I traveled to in March) are having to deal with because of heavy, prolonged rain.
This trail is at Lake Chicot State Park. Someone put these logs in the middle of the trail so people could pass from one part to the other and not step in about 4"-6" of water. The first part and middle part of the wooden log pathway were relatively secure, but those last few logs still had some movement in them, and resulted in some rather wet tennis shoes. Oh well...walking on the trail was well worth it as I listened to all the birds singing around me and overhead.
Makes You Smile: This little tree frog was nestled in a reed at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe, Louisiana. The reed caught my attention because it reminded me of a thin bamboo reed. As I pulled the reed towards me, I looked in and saw a little face looking back at me. It stayed very still and didn't move. Perhaps it thought I couldn't see it. It still makes me smile when I look at it tucked so nicely into its tiny reed home.
As I look back on the photographs, I'm happy that I've waited until now to do this post. This trip to the trio of southern states that I'm visiting has motivated me to get out again and start exploring new areas closer to home.
The National Wildlife Refuges and park systems (national, state, and county) are rich with natural treasures. I'm excited to see what the rest of the year holds in terms of discoveries!