Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • When Sheva passed on in October of 2010, I stopped walking along the lake for a long time, it was too painful. I missed her and it didn't seem right to be walking without her. She had been my walking companion for 18 years and we had many lake adventures.

    Thirteen years ago, I debated on whether I should sell my house and move back to northern Illinois, so I decided to walk along the lake and I asked for a big sign that I couldn't miss, on whether I should stay or leave. As we walked along the beach, Sheva would run ahead of me and then stop to sniff and explore while I caught up with her. We were about a mile back into the Tennessee Federal Wildlife Refuge on our way to my favorite meditation place, Daffodil Hill, where I had built a small alter. As we rounded one of the many bends, I heard a loud rustling in the briars and bushes up on the bank and could see a huge wing flapping. Eagle heard us and flew out of the brush, over my head, circling up into the air reaching so high that I could no longer see her/him.

    The lake is ever changing with the seasons. The water is controlled by dams and is down in the winter and up in the summer and depends on the amount of rain and snow both here and floating down the Mississippi from up north. I always discover new views and scenes even though I have walked this path for 24 years. In the winter, you can see the changing form of the sandbar at the outlet where the water drains through the flood plain and into the lake.
  • I am looking in the direction of where the 'creek' joins a larger river, and the hill in the background is where Canadian Geese like to spend their time when they are visiting. I am headed in the opposite direction to walk back into the wildlife refuge.
  • After I had walked a short distance on the beach around a bend or two, I noticed a very large white bird floating in the distance, too far away to photograph even with the telephoto lens. I climbed the bank and walked carefully hidden among the trees, past the neighbors' houses, avoiding sticks and leaves as much as possible, and then moved very slowing back out to the beach, sat on a dead tree trunk that was partially hidden behind another tree, and watched until White Bird floated nearer. I noticed there were a couple of white spots on the other side of the river and a lot of teeny white spots about a mile away in towards the mouth of the creek. What were they? Swans? Giant white geese? I had never seen either one on my part of the lake before, although I had seen a swan on the Cumberland before.
  • White Bird was swimming towards another white bird…..Ah, it's his/her mate…..
  • But White Bird kept on going…..
  • And going……
  • And going…..
  • And going… another White Bird and then all three White Birds turned and began swimming back to the mouth of the creek.
  • I walked back home, wondering what tribe that strange White Bird belonged to.

    A few days later, ice, sleet and snow dressed the ever changing sand bar in white.
  • There were only ducks on the lake and it was too slippery to walk the beach.
  • Today, the neighbor and I went for a walk, the water had come up after the snow and was down again and the outlet had again transformed. We could see boats in the far distance on the larger river and the neighbor fishing off of the other 'point' off to the left. Boats are not allowed into our creek between November 15th and March 15th, so tomorrow they will be able to come in and fish in the wildlife reserve.
  • It was such a beautiful day that we walked about a mile in the other direction, climbing over trees across the beach that had died during the 4-11 tornado, walking through the woods when the beach was too muddy, listening to the birds singing, and the call of an owl. When we reached the bay that would lead us to Daffodil Hill, we saw them in the distance.
  • We stopped and waited and watched…..
  • They flew off and we continued on to Daffodil Hill where spring has already arrived. They were nowhere in sight, when we returned home and this is the first time that we have seen Pelicans here.
  • Most of the photos were taken with a telephoto lens and a few of them are details of the larger photograph, which is how I discovered what they were.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.