Blue Wall Wanderings – January 30, 2017

 

Winter

The time is not yet here for fronds to unfurl and peek-a- boo flowers to line the trails. Winter still colors the landscape with shades of gray and brown and patches of silver. Winter light streams through the labyrinth of tree tips at an acute angle, illuminating the pale bark of the white oak and the long dark furrows of the red oak, casting long shadows against the next hillside. Muted color surrounds small patches of bright green moss on the ground -- a luxurious color for this season -- and overhead, clouds parade through bright blue sky until they bank together from horizon to horizon and form a soft gray blanket overhead. Time to snuggle down, and rest, and read, and recharge. Enjoy…


 

 

 

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – January 16, 2017



Date: January 16, 2017
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 FISHY BUSINESS

I’ve learned that all types of curious creatures live in waters that tumble into Lake Jocassee. I know little about the fish that live in the lake itself. That changed this week. DNR Fisheries expert Dan Rankin and Walhalla Fish Hatchery expert Scott Poole did the teaching, and this a sample of what I learned. Trout can only be successfully introduced into Lake Jocassee when they are large enough to eat baitfish. Since female trout are physically incapable of spawning in a still lake, a method of raising infertile females is practiced at the Hatchery. The rare Bartram’s bass, native to the Savannah headwaters, is being hybridized by aggressive non-native Alabama spotted bass, which came to Lake Jocassee by way of Lake Keowee, and which are believed to have been introduced to Lake Keowee by fishermen seeking a fighting game fish. Threadfin shad were introduced to the lake in the 1970’s from the Santee-Cooper Reservoir as food for other species. Blueback herring were introduced accidentally into Lake Jocassee but were not expected to live, since they would normally migrate back to salt water after spawning. However, the herring thrive in Jocassee and feed on eggs and hatchlings of game fish. Trout streams have been severely impacted by logging activity of the past century.  Schools of bait fish concentrate in one certain area of Lake Jocassee in spring, and fishing there is really, really good.  But I’m not telling where!
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – January 9, 2017



Date: January 9, 2017
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 COLD

Finally. First the perfect snow, here today, gone tomorrow, and then bright, clear, sharp, cold. Biting, sunny cold that pops apart water pipes and tests the limits of wood stoves across the Blue Wall, and freezes damp ground into interesting little crystal cities that giant feet crunch on the way to the mailbox.  Freeze-your-cheeks-and-fingers cold, if you’re out long enough.  Don’t-want-to-walk-the-dogs cold, for sure. It feels good to have a cold snap, as long as everyone has a warm place to sleep and grandma doesn’t run out of fuel in the middle of the night.  It won’t last long; this is South Carolina, after all, and so far it’s been a very warm winter. 
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – January 2, 2016



Date: January 2, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 SWEET SIXTEEN

It's 11pm. Miss Pearl is restless, pacing, and I struggle into enough clothes to brave the outside elements. Vacation means no dog door to let the pups outside, because now, of course, Mica wants to go out too. We're staying on the eastern tip of a spit of land between Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass Lagoon, in a part of the world known as the Forgotten Coast. Tomorrow is New Year's Day -- Pearl's sixteenth birthday -- and I'm more than happy to walk the few steps to the bay if that's what she wants to do. Salt water creeps up the shore to our feet and a sudden, stiff breeze rustles cabbage palm leaves. The air is heavy with the smell of the briny oyster flats for which this area is famous. It's the final hour of the final day of Pearl's fifteen year, and I thank her for getting me outside to appreciate the moment. No stars tonight; rain is moving in. Pearl thoroughly smells everything we pass, and Mica, excited to be out at this hour, runs in circles, tangling us all. Happy New Year, everybody. We'll look forward to seeing you in 2017. And Happy Birthday, Miss Pearl. I love you.

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – December 26, 2016



Date: December 26, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 OUT WITH THE OLD YEAR...

I can’t help but look back on 2016 with an attitude of gratitude. This little tour business has brought many amazing people into our lives over the past few years. We are quite humbled and honored that so many of you have returned for other tours, sometimes on your own, sometimes bringing along friends and family to share this wondrous place. Sometimes we’ve huddled together under blankets and rain ponchos, or endured hot sun at the dock while waiting for late arrivals, or waited out sudden, ferocious thunderstorms. Along the way so many of you have become our friends. You share our love for this wild, rugged, beautiful land, this middle-of-nowhere place at the base of the Blue Wall, and this gem of a lake that takes us deep into the heart of this special place called Jocassee. Thank you for being there to share it with us.
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – December 19, 2016



Date: December 19, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!

 I think rain, but no, it’s the gentle patter of leaves falling through trees. Summer and fall have both lingered along the Blue Wall, neither in a hurry to move south, but now the landscape is beginning to look like winter.  As leaves disappear from the treetops, clumps of mistletoe appear like green tumbleweeds caught in the branches. Mistletoe, that pervasive beckoner of holiday romance. Ancients turned it into folklore and now the act of hanging a sprig in a doorway before the Christmas party is almost cliché. I can still picture my second grade crush clapping his hands over his ears every time “I saw Mommy kissing Saaaanta Claus” scratched across the school record player. “...un-der-neath-the-mis-tle-toe-last-niiiight...” Mistletoe, the plant, deserves respect. It is an evolutionary survivor, recognized as a keystone species, living for years on its own photosynthesis before sufficiently invading a tree’s living layer and becoming a total parasite. Once established mistletoe produces ultra-sticky seeds that are spread by birds and glue themselves tightly to tree branches. Have you noticed a mistletoe-hosting tree this season? What better place for a Christmas kiss than beneath a tree?~K
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – December 12, 2016



Date: December 12, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade

ELK STORY

Perhaps you've heard the news. A young bull elk is on a walkabout in South Carolina. Prior to October, 2016, a wild elk has not been seen in SC since the last one fell to game hunters in the late 1700s.This 21st century youngster has wandered over and down the Blue Wall, presumably from the Balsam Mountains of NC. He strolled into the region via Jocassee Gorges, stopped by Sunset and Nine Times for a brief while, then continued south until he became a traffic hazard along busier highways near Greenville. Fearing for his safety, SC-DNR captured the elk and brought him back as close as possible to his home state, deep in Jocassee Gorges. As a precaution they removed his antlers, maybe to keep overly friendly humans from being hurt, but perhaps to save the youngster from becoming some uninformed hunter's trophy. (It's illegal to kill elk in SC.) But young adults are strong-willed, and this one was not satisfied to go home. He wandered back south as far as Keowee Key, no doubt marveling at bright green golf courses and friendly natives. Lately the elk has found the Jocassee area to his liking, hanging with cows, donkeys, and pot-bellied pigs that inhabit this rural land. Let's hope he wanders back over the Blue Wall to find a suitable female who will share his wanderlust, and return to bless our land with a new generation. Two hundred years later, it's about time.

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – December 5, 2016



Date: December 5, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

BUZZARD ROOST

We needed paper clips. Living at the base of the Blue Wall means there are no 'quick trips' to the store, and paper clips are not high on the priority list... usually. But on this evening as dusk settled across the coves we really, really needed paper clips. We don't normally leave the house in that direction at that time of day, so we were totally unprepared for the fact that the big red oak by the edge of the driveway had become a roost for turkey buzzards. As we stepped across the porch the first wave of huge, black birds lit from the tree, rustling through dry brown leaves with gigantic whomp! whomp! whomp! wing beats. We were amazed, trying to count them all. Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! Wing beats shook the air. 15? 20? And then more taking flight - we hadn't even seen them in the tree - and then more, and more. Maybe 60 big turkey buzzards roosted in our tree, maybe more. In a few steps across the porch, we scared the entire committee out of the oak, and they haven't returned. Husband is heartbroken. He loves buzzards. 

Earlier that day I heard from a friend newly returned from her autumn retreat to Aruba. While she was away, turkey buzzards moved onto her property. Significant splatters of white covered her deck and railings. A screen was ripped away from the goldfish pond and a valiant attempt had been made to tear the cover off her outdoor grill. She was not amused, and has taken to scaring the birds away with the help of a loud cow bell and a gasoline-powered leaf blower. She does not love buzzards. 

Me? I'm buzzard neutral.~K

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – November 28, 2016



Date: November 21, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 DRY, STILL

Rain. We take it for granted here in the southeast. Even through this long, dry autumn season, as wildfires eat through dry underbrush and fill the air with heavy smoke, even as we watch the water level of Lake Jocassee fall lower than it's been in nearly four years, still, we take it for granted that rain will return soon and soak the dry ground. It always does, eventually. But three months is a long time to go with not more than a trace of precipitation.~K

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – November 21, 2016



Date: November 21, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

A DAY WITH GEOLOGISTS

Finally, a tiny insight into the geological history of the Jocassee Gorges. Questions patiently answered by a pair of geologists with local knowledge and an afternoon free for a warm, sunny boat ride. Their unfamiliar language was punctuated by recognizable words: Feldspar, hornblende, quartz and mica, minerals which combine and recombine like so many characters in a novel. Only, this story is real. These characters make up lots of gneiss and a little schist, and range through the mountains that hold Lake Jocassee, layered like short stories in the book of ages. We explored the Southern Boundary and the Northern Boundary of the Brevard Fault Zone, collected handfuls of button mica schist, and marveled over rock so weathered it broke in our bare hands. We contemplated the mystery of 500 million year old rock, squeezed against rock more than a billion years old.  It isn’t quite the story I thought, but it is the story of this place, and we are trying to understand it the best we can.

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – November 14, 2016



Date: November 14, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 SMOKE

The moon, looming larger than it’s been since Strom Thurmond lost his run for the presidency, has an expression somewhere between concern and dismay. The mountains are on fire, and smoke settles along the base of the Blue Wall in low, thick clouds. In the upstate of South Carolina, Pinnacle Mountain burns, and in North Carolina, fires eat through the entire mountain region with an appetite fueled by dry woods and autumn wind.  Firefighters are being schooled on the trickery of mountain wildfire, and deer hunters brag about easy prey as wildlife is driven to the refuge of water. We will mourn the scorched earth, even as we remember that all things are temporary, and this, too, shall pass.
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – November 7, 2016



Date: November 7, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade

REVELATION

I’m sitting under a cloudless November sky on a large rock beside the Thompson River, which is noisy despite the lack of rain. Two months ago this rock was under water; all summer we glided pontoon boats over the top of it. Now, though, the rock is surrounded by a deep bank of clean white sand. I slide back into the shade of rhododendrons, against thick roots that weave together like the edge of a crocheted doily. The air holds the rich smell of dried herbs from golden brown beech leaves blanketing the ground behind me. I look up to take quick inventory. Beech. Yellow birch. Maple. Tulip poplar. Sweetgum. Sourwood. Against the blue sky there are remnants of tulip poplar flowers in the tippy top of one tall tree, and sweetgum balls dangling toward the tips of outstretched branches on another. The sand sparkles with bits of mica, and the Thompson River sparkles with oxygen bubbles. It’s a beautiful day.~K
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – October 31, 2016



Date: October 31, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

REVELATION

Every day the trees glow brighter, casting rippled reflections of neon Crayola colors into the ever-moving water. Crimson, orange, yellow and gold brilliance dot the mountainsides, and every day is outshining the day just past with a display that elicits silent heartfelt thanks to Nature, to the Creator, to whatever creative force has granted us the capacity for appreciation. In the midst of this astounding pageantry of color my attention shifts constantly from trees to the shoreline below. Lake Jocassee, in the grip of drought for two months now, falls inches per day. Down now 10 feet or more, the receding water reveals What Was, an ancient geological tale that spans back 500  million years, or more. The air we breathe is older, the water is older, but the tale of the rock is more captivating. And rock, dissolved by water that is moved by air, births the trees that glow brighter by the day. Come, see. It’s well worth the drive. 

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – October 24, 2016



Date: October 24, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

BAD CREEK, REVISITED

At the invitation of the non-profit Friends of Jocassee, I drove up the Blue Wall early on a sunny October morning to the Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station. 40 or so other FOJ members and I boarded an old school bus driven by FOJ president Allan Boggs, and headed up a wide, well-graveled road over the Bad Creek Dam. We stopped for an impressive view from the top of the dam, looking far out into the South Carolina Piedmont, and deep into the nearby Cheohee and Tamassee Valleys. On we lumbered, to the entrance of the Bad Creek powerhouse, visible from Lake Jocassee, and entered the mouth of a tunnel that took us 120’ down into the interior of the mountain. When the bus stopped at the entrance to the gigantic powerhouse, 600’ of solid rock mountain pressed down from overhead. Allan shared facts, figures, and stories that paid respect to the complexity of doing business between a rock and a hard place, or, more literally, between two lakes, inside of a mountain. It’s an interesting, pertinent story for anyone who flips a light switch, and I highly recommend the tour.~K

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – October 17, 2016

 



Date: October 17, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade

FALLING WATER

 

Last week we watched the edge of a hurricane skirt the base of the Blue Wall. Rain fell to the east, hard rain, pulling moisture out of the mountains into a spiral that has drowned sections of the Carolinas under muddy brown water. West of the I-85 corridor to Greenville and up Hwy. 25, skies remained, but for a few brief hours, Carolina blue. Drought conditions. Daily we watch Lake Jocassee's water fall, half a foot at a time. Geology is exposed along the shoreline, one layer at a time; all these mysterious rocks telling stories of creation in a language few humans understand. Not timeless, not eternal, these are stories tied to physical boundaries of space and matter and elements. They are stories that are, with the rise and fall of the water, to be continued. K
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – October 3, 2016

 



Date: October 3 , 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

 
   

 

HOMEBOUND  

So what's a little broken bone when October has arrived? It's not like I broke my leg, after all. Lucky my things-to-do-should-I-ever-break-my-leg list is adaptable. Top of the list: organize photographs. I've been doing a lot of organizing of digital photographs this week, hours and hours of cutting and pasting images from a 'Pictures' folder to proper categories, while my foot rests in an elevated position. If I need a picture of a creek on Lake Jocassee I can look in a folder within a folder within another folder on my computer and go right to what I need. Useful.Turns out my photos reveal that I have an odd affinity for tree bark. And mushrooms. And rocks, especially if they are decorated with lichens. Years worth of pictures, season to season, daylight to dark. More snapshot than fine art, I assure you, but I'm as grateful as can be to have this chance to sort through them all. And I'm counting on the broken foot to heal, better than before.~K

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – September 26, 2016

 



Date: September 26, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

 
   

 

DRY

 

This week, birds who live around the yard are more interested in bird baths than feeders. Behind the bird yard, the horizontal limbs of the young black gum trees are turning the most beautiful salmon/apricot/burnt orange/bright red colors, drifts of trees and color back through the woods. Puddles have dried, cumulus clouds float by with no promise of rain, waterfalls slip quietly over the edge of rocks without much splash. It's dry time. Rain, always welcome in the shadow of the Blue Wall, is not forthcoming... not in this season when less humidity makes the hot September sun slightly more bearable. Yellow flowers lining the roads show no sign of curling and drooping -- summer rains were plentiful enough -- and drier weather is simply the way it is as summer melds into fall. But maybe it's a little earlier than usual?~K
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – September 19, 2016

 



Date: September 19, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

 
  CHANGE

 

Changes are afoot. The trees know it. Don't wait for the 'peak' to seek leave color... the change is happening now. Sourwoods, dogwoods, black gums and sweetgums are ceasing production of chlorophyll and their 'true' colors are being revealed. Days are growing shorter and nights, longer. Drier air and cooler mornings are replacing oppressive humidity and afternoon thunderstorms. There is more spring in Miss Pearl's step when we head out for the daily walk. There's more spring in my step, too, come to think of it, just knowing that the long hot summer is coming to an end. The butterflies know it; the birds know it. They head south towards warmer climes, but we wait where we are for cool relief.~K
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – September 12, 2016

 



Date: September 12, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

 
   

 

WINGED THINGS

 

One little, two little, three little butterflies, four little, five little, six little butterflies, seven little, eight little, nine little... wait a minute! Count. More than two dozen butterflies in sight at once, heading south. I'm watching for orange and black monarch butterflies but these flitty creatures are clear lemon yellow, flourescent against clear blue sky. Cloudless sulphurs, I believe they're called, answering an instinct to fly south until flowers are plentiful. They flutter and float in no particular hurry. Higher in the sky and a little further east, hawks will  pass this way in the coming days... hundreds of birds a day, I've heard, great raptors riding ribbons of air out of the mountains and across the piedmont ahead of the coming cold. What a privilege, to witness migrations. Caesar's Head State Park and Sassafras Mountain are a couple of the best places around to see the hawk migration in the next several weeks, and butterflies might well be flying south right through your yard. Look for them!

Blue Wall Wanderings – September 5, 2016

 



Date: September 5, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

 
   

 

ALONE

 

I turn off the pontoon's motor. Me and the dog, alone in the headwaters of Lake Jocassee, drift along at the whim of light breeze and gentle current on a river flowing some 40 feet beneath the boat. Water sounds surround us: lake lapping against boat, creek flowing around rocks and fallen trees, the rain-fat river galloping out of the mountains. I am completely happy. The boat drifts slowly closer to distant trees, closer to where rocks stack like plates against the shore, closer to late summer flowers bending long arching stems over the water. A yellow swallowtail butterfly wanders over, stays for a short visit, and wanders on down the lake. As the sun clears the top of the ridge and the air warms, cicadas tune their tymbals. Did I mention happy? What a life.
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – August 29, 2016

 



Date: August 29, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

INTRODUCING... A New JLT Guide: 
Ric Barnett!

Ric Barnett is a native South Carolinian who was raised in the Upstate near Greenville. As a young boy his father brought him to swim in the Keowee River before Jocassee Valley was flooded. (A slight pall was put over that trip, however, when his father, trying to impress the lad regarding the great change that was about to take place when the lake covered the valley, told little Ricky, “This is a very historical place." To which the boy replied, " I don't see nothing funny about that." Sigh...
For 20+ years Ric flew fighters and taught survival skills for the US Air Force, a mission which took him all over the world.  As a global traveler Ric says, “All things considered, I have never seen a finer lake than Lake Jocassee.
Ric is a certified SC Master Naturalist and volunteers as an environmental educator at Paris Mountain State Park, where he teaches 2nd and 5th grade classes. We couldn’t be more pleased to have him as a part of our special group of naturalist guides!
 

 




 

 

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – August 22, 2016

 



Date: August 22, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

INTRODUCING... New JLT Guides: 
 Dan and Sherrie Whitten!

Introducing the power couple of the Upstate natural world, our wonderful guide team of Dan and Sherrie Whitten. Dan is an Auburn University graduate in Wildlife Management and is the current president of the Upstate Native Plant Society. He is a past president of the Upstate Master Naturalist Society, a position his wife Sherrie now holds. How about that! Sherrie is a speech pathologist, retired, who has worked with school kids for most of her life.  They both serve  on the Board for the Friends of Jocassee, and Dan serves on the Board of the Foothills Trail Conference. Dan works part time with Spartanburg County Parks leading outdoor recreation outings as well as part time with SC Parks teaching forest ecology at Table Rock State Park for the Discover Carolina program. Both Dan and Sherrie spend the majority of their time leading hikes and sharing their passion for the world of nature. We couldn’t be more pleased to have them as a part of our special group of Upstate Master Naturalist guides.
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – August 15, 2016

 



Date: August 15, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

INTRODUCING... A New JLT Guide:  Tricia Kyzer!

Tricia Kyzer has been a naturalist all her life. She grew up in south Florida, happily immersed in waters full of island mangroves and coral reefs, swimming with barracudas and chasing iguanas. As a child she discovered the temperate forests - alive with deer and meadows full of butterflies - during a year in northern Michigan. In 1999 Tricia discovered her calling as an educator. She has volunteered with the Discover Carolina program at Jones Gap State Park. and taught science classes to elementary through high school students. In 2012, Tricia became a certified Master Naturalist. Currently, she serves as an educator at Lake Conestee Nature Park, bringing thousands of school children into forest, meadow and swamp to make discoveries with her, Tricia still finds herself in wonder of mountain coves full of botanical treasures and alive with forest creatures, and she enthusiastically shares these treasures with anyone who will join her.
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – August 8, 2016

 



Date: August 8, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade

THE DEVIL'S WALKINGSTICK

 

Beachball-size panicles made up of tiny white flowers are hard to ignore, especially when they top thorny plants that can grow 20 feet tall. During this hot, humid section of summer these flowers appear along edges of country roads throughout the southeast,  and pity the person so blind as to claim they've never seen them. The flower puffs belong to a plant named Aralia spinosa, commonly known around these parts as Devil's walkingstick. Look for them now, and watch the transition as bright magenta colors the stems and the diminutive flowers become juicy berries of deep purple. The flowers host many species of bees, wasps, moths, and butterflies, the berries feed a wide variety of birds, and the foliage is an excellent forage plant for deer. However, hunters and homeowners tend to hate the plant for its formidable thorns.~K
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – August 1, 2016

 

Date: August 1, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade

 

 

 

WOODS My tries-to-be-daily-but-fails-miserably-in-the-summertime walks with Miss Pearl and Mica the Wonder Dog take us into woods full of skinny trees. Frankly, if my semi-daily relationship were with an old-growth forest full of old-growth trees I would be happier. These young trees remind me of middle school kids outside on lunch break, crowded together, similar in height, competing for sunshine. None of them have calipers of more than 6 or 8 inches.These are pines, mostly--Virginia, shortleaf, and white pines--with a scattering of sweetgums along the top of the ridge, hickories, a generous scattering of young oaks, and ramrod straight poplars, growing back from cut stumps as twin trees. In the thick shade below their collective canopies, impressive smilax and grape vines, ubiquitous little blueberry species, and even younger, skinnier trees wait for a chance at some sunshine, while patches of moss and mushroom take advantage of the shade. What human need did this spot fulfill 20 years ago? Was it somebody's pasture or field? That doesn't matter to the dogs, who are simply happy to tree turkeys and squirrels in what woods we have.~K
 

Blue Wall Wanderings – July 25, 2016

 



Date: July 25, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade

WONDER

 

This little girl holds a millipede in her small hand. Many legs propel the long, segmented body across her little fingers. She watches it, rapt, and moves her hand instinctively to hold it aloft. Her expression says that she has found a thing of wonder, an interesting little creature with red and black bands which tickles but doesn't hurt. She observes closely, watching the jointed legs move in concert. Once her curiosity is satisfied she lays her hand against a rock and the millipede obediently climbs down. 
Children 'get' wonder, whether it's a millipede or a tiny fish or a butterfly or a striped rock or a flower that floats like a boat. Children accept the magic for what it is, without the need to name it or explain it. This summer's Jocassee Adventure Camp has given us the opportunity to share the wonder of Jocassee Gorges with children, and they, in turn, have shared it with us.~K

Blue Wall Wanderings – July 18, 2016

 



Date: July 18, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

TEMPEST

Clouds build across the top of the Blue Wall, promising a chance of relief from a hot blue sky. Billowing clouds change to flat dark gray visible through narrow gaps in hills rising steep and close as fortress walls. Puffs of stiff breeze flip over tree leaves, and in the distance, thunder rumbles. In three directions the sky remains hot blue, with streaks of gauzy clouds trailing across, but in that fourth direction, ominous darkness approaches, pushing rain ahead, rain which obscures mountains and beats hard against land and water, wind-driven rain which vanquishes all traces of blue. Thunder and lightening and wind and rain come together and humans are humbled in the presence of such an almighty force of nature... especially those humans caught outside.



Blue Wall Wanderings – July 11, 2016

 



Date: July,11, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

WILTING
On roadsides along the base of the Blue Wall, pale leaves of grass curl and twist. Black gum trees respond to the heat with branches of startling red interrupting summer's monochromatic green.Storm clouds gather and sweep just to the edge of the lakes, pushed by dry, hot air, and then vanish with little more than a distant rumble. Rain teases, showering suddenly across clear blue sky from a faraway cloud, then dancing quickly away, leaving every living thing silently longing for more. Waterfalls slide quietly down the face of rocks which have borne witness to ever-changing moods of weather for hundreds of millions of years. We seek out trees and their cooling shade, hiding from a sun that makes life on earth possible even as it scorches and burns. Do me a favor. Next time you hear a weatherperson griping about too much rain…~K 

Blue Wall Wanderings – July 4, 2016

 



Date: July, 4, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade
 

 

NIGHT SOUND

Along the base of the Blue Wall, the night is full of sound. Beginning at dusk and continuing into full dark, there is noise, loud, unrelenting, a choral cacophony of amorous insects strumming their wings to sing a courtship song. Here, we call them katydids; in other parts of the world they might be called other names. In other parts of the world, they might be a source of food for humans, but here along the base of the Blue Wall, where eating insects is not held in high regard, the noisy creatures satisfy the appetites of birds and bats, and spiders and snakes, and frogs. The noise of katydids is, to me, preferable to the noise of squealing tires and ambulance sirens. To each

 

 

Blue Wall Wanderings – June 27, 2016

 



Date: June 27, 2016
Writer: Kay Wade

BUZZED

 

My friend the bumblebee-look-alike is back. I stop mid-lake to share some tidbit of Jocassee trivia and there he is, buzzing the boat, stealing the show. He hovers in front of each human, eyeball-level, studying us. He’s particularly interested in females (which is why I assume he’s a he) and anyone wearing a bright or flowery top gets an extended scrutiny. He’s barely the size of a human’s thumbnail, this carpenter bee, but we recoil and duck and swat as if he were a much larger threat. It’s the buzz, surely, and the way we associate ‘bee’ with ‘sting’, although this diminutive flying creature is not equipped with stinging apparatus. I’ve decided he isn’t actually a bee at all: he is an alien from outer space, sent to earth in a clever disguise to study human nature. Surely we are quite the curiosity.~K 

Blue Wall