Sunday, October 28, 2012

American Herring Gull

Imagine a beach without any seagulls and without their cries as they squabble over a crustacean. Now, imagine that it almost happened. In the 1800s, the American Herring Seagull was quite rare. Their numbers dwindling as they were hunted for human appetite - for eggs and for feathers.

I'm glad they've rebounded. I could not imagine a beach without them, as they are as familiar as the ocean breezes and waves. They winter over in nearly all of the coastal regions of North America with the breeding range extending north to Alaska and into the arctic regions. 

This particular seagull was enjoying a sunny, breezy day in Charleston, South Carolina. Could it be Jonathan Living Seagull? Most likely not, but a handsome American Herring Seagull just the same. 

A popular novella in the 70s, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull - a story," was a fable about a seagull who begins a journey of self-perfection through the passion for flight.

Looking at me from behind, his look seems a taunt at me, taunting me of what he's capable of doing in that wide expanse of blue sky and of what I cannot do -- that is fly free and high just like Jonathan encumbered by nothing.

 “He was not bone and feather but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all”
― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Friday, October 12, 2012

The French Broad River

This beautiful river flows through the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina passing through the city of Asheville to its final destination joining with the Tennessee River in Tennessee.

An odd name, I thought, but research revealed it was named by settlers as it was one of two broad (broad meaning river) rivers in Western North Carolina and belonged on land owned by the French.

In my readings, I discovered it is considered the third oldest river in the world; however further research indicated that the New River, also in North Carolina, is the third oldest.  I could not find any information to settle the matter.  But whether third or fourth it is old, very old.

If you are ever in North Carolina consider a visit to the French Broad River. Stand on its banks and contemplate its age -  an age that places it before the Appalachian Mountains were formed and before no human stood on its banks.